Knowledge.
  • Food & Nutrition — August 21, 2017
    Coffee & Alcohol: What’s the go?

    Caffeine

    Caffeine is routinely enjoyed by many of us every day (hello wonderful Melbourne coffee options), and small to moderate amounts cause no problems for most people. The issues arise when our bodies consume too much caffeine, which can trigger a stress response, with resultant increase in adrenaline production. When adrenaline is produced, our bodies respond in the following ways;

    • Our blood sugar elevates to fuel our muscles to help us escape the perceived danger (fight or flight)
    • Our blood pressure and pulse rate increases to get more oxygen to the muscles
    • Digestion and reproductive functions slow down so our bodies can save the energy for far more important matters – like survival
    • Our bodies prioritise using sugar stores rather than fat stores – which over time, with a prolonged stress response, can make weight loss is very challenging.

    We have become accustomed to living with stress as a constant in our lives.  Our bodies can’t tell the difference between being chased by a tiger and being late for work, our biological response is the same. And once we are in this state of stress, it can be difficult to calm down and relax. This can affect our sleep, so we are tired the next day, reach for a caffeine stimulant to perk us up, and the viscous cycle continues.

    So – enjoy that one coffee per day, preferably with a friend, but just recognise when your body has had enough. Instead of the auto-pilot 3pm coffee– try a herbal tea or a walk around the block with a glass (or two) of water and see how that feels.

    If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, Doctors advise to stick to one coffee a day, or choose de-caf. And make sure your de-caffeinated coffee is cold water filtered, as the alternate product is treated with chemicals to remove the caffeine (yuck).

    Alcohol

    No matter which way we spin it, alcohol is a toxin. Every individual should consider the effects of alcohol on their bodies, and in which situations a glass of wine is enjoyable. What we do know is that limiting alcohol intake to 2 standard drinks, with at least 2 alcohol free days per week is the key to a happy body and a healthy liver. It is also important to consider the sugar content in your drink, especially for mixed drinks – soda and fresh lime or lemon are best.

    If you are pregnant or breast feeding, it is recommended that alcohol is avoided. For more information visit the Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website.

    Adapted from The Fit Mother Food Philosophy

    Endorsed by: Kate Save, Accredited Practicing Dietitian

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