Coffee addict? How to cut back on caffeinated drinks

Cup of coffee with smoke and coffee beans
Cup of coffee with smoke and coffee beans/ iStock

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you drink less caffeine.

Many people can’t get out of bed or start their morning without drinking a cup of coffee or an energy drink to get them going.

According to the International Coffee Organisation, 148-million 60-kg bags of coffee were produced around the world in 2015/2016. Americans are known to consume more than 400-million cups of coffee a day!

South Africans are also big coffee fans, and according to the SA Coffee Club (SACC),  demand has resulted in the number of roasteries in the country increasing from just 20 over a decade ago to more than 100.

But as much as we all love a good cup of Joe, drinking too much caffeine is not good for your health.

Caffeine is not just found in coffee. It is present in soft drinks, energy drinks, and even chocolate, which contains cocoa, has caffeine.

Before you know it, you could be consuming more than the recommended amount of caffeine per day.

Several sources suggest the average adult consume no more than 400mg of coffee daily – which is about four cups. The amount drops to 200mg for pregnant women.

Children under 12 should stay away from coffee, as experts believe it affects their brain development. Though, some doctors do prescribe a certain amount of coffee to children with ADHD.

While drinking coffee has its benefits, too much of it can negatively affect your health. It can increase your heart rate and elevate you blood pressure. Not to mention stain your teeth!

If you want to cut back on drinking coffee, and other caffeinated drinks then keep reading.

Cut back slowly 

Coffee is addictive, and cutting back on the amount you drink can lead to bad withdrawals. Instead of going cold turkey, slowly reduce the amount of coffee you drink daily. If you drink five cups of coffee a day,  make your fifth one half a cup. Reduce the amount daily until you get to one or two cups a day, and eventually one cup! Cutting back also works for energy drink consumers, but the amounts are likely to differ.

Consider your lifestyle

If you need coffee to stay focused at work, it is probably not a good idea to start your coffee “detox” on a Monday morning. Think about starting on your day off or a weekend, as it will be hard to be productive when all you can think about is coffee.

Switch drinks

While some teas contain caffeine, they generally have a lower amount that coffee. Instead of drinking coffee all day, replace one of your cups with tea. Rooibos tea, which contains no caffeine, is also a good option if you need a hot drink to keep you warm on a cold day. Soda and energy drink addicts should avoid these aisles at all costs when shopping. Sadly, many of these drinks are on display near the cashier, so you will need to exercise some extreme willpower.

Spend less time at coffee shops

Coffee shops are a great place to meet with friends or hold meetings, but for a coffee addict, it is the worst place to be. Avoid temptation by decreasing the amount of time you spend socialising at a coffee shop. Let your friends and family know that you are cutting back so that they suggest other meeting spots.

Some coffee withdrawal symptoms include severe headaches, depression, and dizziness. Speak to a health profession to help you with your coffee addiction. 

ALSO READ: Five products in your kitchen that are packed with sugar

Main image courtesy of iStock/ amenic181