According to the New Scientist, caffeine is the most popular psychoactive drug in the world. While this doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, it’s interesting to know that a staggering 90 per cent of adults in the United States of America drink coffee, while in the UK, 500g of coffee is consumed per person, per year.
A lot of research has been conducted to find out whether coffee is actually good or bad for you on the whole. The answer isn’t as black and white as people would like it to be. All kinds of health benefits behind coffee have been revealed lately.
While doctors claim it makes you smarter and reduces the risk of many diseases, some still claim caffeine intake has negative health effects. You might want to read through before you fork out for that new costa coffee machine you’ve been eyeing up.
Just how much is too much?
The trouble is that coffee is starting to get a bad reputation from the inclusion of caffeine in a lot of other kinds of drinks. From its addition to waffles, chewing gum and the plethora of highly-caffeinated energy drinks in the United States, it’s clear that there is concern about going overboard with adding caffeine to other products.
Of course, too much of anything is a bad thing. Latest research shows that if you drink coffee moderately, it can prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Type II Diabetes.
How much do you take?
The increase in the number of people seeking emergency treatment following ingesting energy drinks in the US forms a contrast with the research that demonstrates that caffeine in moderation is good for you.
Because of this, the FDA has pledged to conduct more research into caffeine intake, in order to determine what the ‘safe level’ of caffeine is.
Finland is the world’s most caffeinated country. The average adult consumes up to 400mg of caffeine every day, which is equivalent to four or five cups of coffee daily. This equals to the maximum daily limit as outlined by the UK Food Standards Agency.
Research shows clearly that even five cups of coffee a day, if brewed in the right conditions at the right quality, is actually good for you. However, the rise of caffeine in other products – like a new type of chewing gum by Wrigley’s, the production of which has now been halted – has alarmed health officials.
In Finland, such products now carry warning labels on them, something that will be practised across the EU from 2014.