Coffee is man’s best friend. How true is this?
Well, probably not at all. Before you go for another cup of the good ol’ latte from your neighbourhood Starbucks outlet, stop for a moment to ponder about what you’re really ingesting. New research has shown that the friendly productivity stimulant you’ve been looting off those mega café chains, such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean, isn’t so friendly after all. It turns out that caffeine can do more harm than good for our health.
Here are a couple of reasons to rethink your unhealthy caffeine obsession a little bit (just to name a few, for there are truly a great many):
1. That surge of energy you get? Is a mirage
Lots of people drink coffee to feel energized. That’s no wonder – many people work in high-stress environments that involve clocking in extra hours of desk time on a regular basis, each stint often stretching to ungodly hours in the night. Sure, the caffeine gets you up and running in a hyper state that (presumably) promotes work productivity and allows you to stay up later, but this is all a mirage. A big, fat, caffeine-saturated lie that’s got the whole world fooled. This energy you feel is no productivity driver. It’s caused by the hormone adrenaline, which can often be disruptive to proper work, as the body thrums with excessive hyperactivity which makes it difficult for us to focus on the job. It’s best to think twice about that coffee addiction you’ve got going on, because you might make some wrong moves at work and end up, well, workless. At least by then you won’t be needing the coffee anymore.
2. Depression and anxiety disorders
Excessive caffeine consumption has been shown to cause depression and anxiety disorders in some people. The exact scientific reason behind this is unknown. Speculatively, it’s caused by the adrenaline, which exists in high concentrations in the bloodstream, potentially causing prolonged feelings of uneasiness. In any case, consuming too much of anything is never a good idea. Reign in on the coffee consumption à happiness. Easy equation?
3. Sleep deprivation and fatigue
Let’s think of caffeine as a sort of recreational drug. Like drugs, it induces certain chemical changes in the body that leads to the characteristic feelings of hyperactivity. This is because, as mentioned many times previously, it encourages your body to produce adrenaline. Now adrenaline may be the reason for that exciting feeling one gets while on a roller coaster, but too much of it can really drain the body of its energy. But it gets worse. Adrenaline is kind of an ironic thing, like the body is subjecting itself to masochism and torturing itself intentionally. What do I mean by this? Well, adrenaline makes you tired, and yet prevents you from going to sleep to have the rest your body desperately needs to recuperate.
So you can imagine how this will go down.
That’s right – you, like the whole lot of us sleep-deprived souls, will think to drink more coffee to fight off that overwhelming fatigue. Kick-starting more adrenaline, check. More insomnia, check. Permanent life-ruining fatigue, check. God knows when the cycle will end.
4. Withdrawal symptoms – not a pretty sight
Speaking of drugs, caffeine is kind of… really a drug. It gets you addicted, and when you lay it off, your body responds in a negative way that kind of feels like you’re suffering from withdrawals. So basically, once you’ve started a life coffee, you’ll live a life of coffee till you die. Unless you want to feel tired all the time, easily drained, depressed, slow, etc… the list of symptoms of withdrawals goes on. I don’t think any of us would like to experience that.
To those who already are, hang in there! There is more to life than caffeine!
5. Drains the wallet
In economics, coffee is considered a normal (or luxury) good. Basically, coffee is expensive. No, not the beans, because you can get decent Arabica beans for a pretty low price. I’m referring to commercialized coffee sold in stores. These can get really pricey. So let’s say you drink 2 cups of Starbucks coffee a day, the cost price of each cup averaging at $6. That would mean $12 a day, $360 a month and a whopping $4320 a year. That’s more than the monthly pay of a large percentage of Singaporeans! It’s difficult to feel the pinch when you’re footing 5 or 10 dollar bills with each cup, but when you add the sum up it can really get hefty. Perhaps there are better ways to spend your hard-earned cash. Donate to charity! Or buy an LV bag. It’s your call.
So with that, we have debunked the myth of coffee as the esteemed productivity booster in our workplace. In fact, I’m not sure many of you would want to drink much coffee at all any more. But… it’s ironic that I’m typing this while sitting in Starbucks drinking a cup of my favourite non-fat cappuccino. I guess we make our own choices in life.