||April 1, 2006
Barnes & Noble.com
Kushner explores caffeine’s darker side that scientist know but that the caffeine industry has tried to suppress. Caffeine is addictive drug, does not offer any nutritional value and has not been proven safe. Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link caffeine to heart disease, pancreas cancer, bladder cancer, hypoglycemia and central nervous system disorders.
Kicking the Caffeine Habit
Millions of people are hooked on caffeine, putting themselves at risk for dozens of health hazards many of them fatal. They need their drug, just as smokers need their dose of nicotine. Their chemical withdrawal can be just as painful and even longer-lasting than that of the most chronic alcoholic. And, just like the other junkies, their dependence strips them of their freedom. They give up their minds, bodies, and sometimes even their lives to the debilitating drug of choice: caffeine and its
ubiquitous delivery system, coffee.
The Double-Barreled Threat
Let us be perfectly clear from the beginning about the subject of this deprecation. We are talking about two separate, but related chemical compounds; one, a component of the other. Individually, and in concert, they present a clear danger to the public, who is abusing these substances in record numbers. We are talking about caffeine, the drug that occurs naturally in coffee, tea, cacao, and chocolate and which is widely and unwisely used to adulterate soft drinks, foods, and medicines. We are also talking about all types of coffee – regardless of whether it contains
caffeine or not. Caffeine is responsible for one constellation of illnesses; coffee is responsible for quite another. Together, they pose the number one drug threat in the world where its abuse is the rule, rather than the exception.
Drug Use in America
Certainly, there are other drugs that are almost as widely used as coffee. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says that alcohol is responsibly used by some 100 million Americans. Yet,13.8 million people have “drinking problems” and over 8 million are practicing alcoholics. The real downside? Alcohol contributes to the deaths of over 100,000 people each year (J. McGinnis & W. Foege, “Actual Causes of Death in the United States,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 270, No. 18, 11/10/93, p.
Pharmacologists consider daily doses of caffeine that exceed 250 mg as large. For example, if you drank five cans (12 oz.) of Mountain Dew or six cans of Diet Coke you would have consumed well over 250 mg of caffeine.
Between 15,000,000 and 30,000,000 people in the United States consume upwards of 700 mg or more. One can certainly recognize the potential for abuse of this chemical. The symptoms of central nervous system disorders have now been well categorized. They include mood disturbances, sleep disruptions, and withdrawal symptoms.
The most common anxiety manifestations of caffeinism are frequent urination, jitteriness, tremulousness, agitation, irritability, muscle twitching, lightheadedness, heavy breathing,rapid heartbeat, and cardiac palpitations. Obviously, not everyone experiences all of these symptoms and not all people experience them in the same degree. Subjects in several studies voiced much the same litany of complaints. Jitteriness, agitation,
and irritability led the wave of commonly mentioned symptoms.
“Enough eye-opening stories to lead to serious questioning of our caffeine intake”
Caffeine is the most widely used and abused legal drug in existence, with more than sixty-eight million Americans drinking three or more cups of coffee a day and twenty-one million drinking six or more cups a day.
Numerous studies show that ingesting that much caffeine, particularly in the form of coffee, can be quite harmful. In “The Truth About Caffeine: How Companies that Promote it Deceive Us and What We Can Do About It”, Kushner clearly and directly outlines the myriad of risks associated with the overconsumption of coffee,
including potential problems with the liver, heart and pancreas.
The book pays particular attention to the effects of coffee and caffeine on women and children. Some studies have shown that excessive coffee drinking can lead to fertility and pregnancy problems, birth defects, low birth weight babies or SIDS, as well as fibrocystic breast tumors.
It’s bad enough that caffeine flows easily to all parts of the body, Kushner writes. That it flows to the vital tissues in the female body
is a great deal worse, particularly for the female of childbearing age.
The sinister effects of caffeine begin even before a woman becomes pregnant and endure long after the child is born.
Caffeine affects the body in basically the same way regardless of the size or age of the consumer, but the effect is much more pronounced in children than it is in adults. Drinking one caffeinated beverage for a child is like an adult drinking four, Kushner says. Even small amounts of caffeine can make children jumpy, nervous and excitable and cause them to have difficulty focusing.
There is ample evidence that all of the disturbances that adults experience through caffeinated coffee can also occur in children who imbibe excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages, Kushner writes. And, of course, “excessive” levels for children are always much lower.
This book offers a straightforward look at the dangers of caffeine and
coffee use and the perils of addiction. Kushner, who manufactures a
soy-based coffee alternative called Soyfee, is passionate about warning
people about the risks of over-using this widely accepted stimulant. The final chapters of the book serve to help readers determine if they are addicted to coffee and illustrate one alternative: replace the harmful product with something that has proven to be beneficial to health.
This well-researched book will certainly open eyes. It gives readers a great deal to think about as they consider their own use (and possible
over-use) of coffee and other caffeinated beverages and what effect
those products have on their health and the health of their loved ones.
Explore the history of the coffee bean, right up to the current amount of garbage that is allowed to be slipped into the mix. Find out what coffee, regular and decaffeinated, is doing to your body. Look at the facts about caffeine. And, come to understand the epidemic of health impacts that are affecting millions of people. If this book doesn't convince you to better your life by just saying no to a "cup o'joe" I don't know what will. It‘s a Must Read.
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