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Caffeine Overload Equals Bad


My coffee machineA good friend of mine rather likes coffee. When I last worked with him he’d frequently do ridiculously long hours, drink copious amounts of Red Bull (which is loaded with caffeine) and it’s no surprise to me that he’s now taken the same approach to coffee. He doesn’t drink a cup, he drinks 5 cups. All double strength. And when he’s a bit peckish he just eats a mouthful of raw coffee beans. I believe he’s also ground coffee into his toothpaste too. (Note, everything is true apart from the toothpaste – so far as I’m aware).

I always react with incredulity (you know, that sort of expression where my eyebrows jump two inches upwards) when he tells me about the amount of caffeine he ingests but as I was sitting doing some work on John’s Background Switcher yesterday I realised that I’m just as bad. I tend to start every day with a freshly made latte (we have loads of disposable cups so I can drink it on the drive to work). I then eat several tiffins – chocolate based biscuit snacks – per day if I can get any (I really must write about my obsession with those some time), which contain more caffeine. I bring a bottle of juice to work to stop myself buying fizzy drinks (which works) but then go home and reward myself with a can of Irn Bru (good work undone):

My Mac and some Irn Bru

For anybody who’s never heard of the stuff, Irn Bru is the ubiquitous Scotsman’s drink. Most Scottish people I know love the stuff, and most non-Scottish people I know – who’ve tried it – hate the stuff. The advertising slogan of the 80’s described Irn Bru as being “Made in Scotland…. from girders” (said in a gruff Scottish accent) and that’s about as close to an accurate description of the taste as you’ll get. It’s loaded with additives, loaded with caffeine, and could probably strip paint at 30 paces. But I love the stuff!

I probably drink a can a day on average – far too much – which adds more to the caffeine count. If there are still some tiffins around I’ll eat them too. More caffeine. The bottom line is that like my friend I consume far too much caffeine and no doubt that’s what causes me to stay awake really late at night and struggle to get up in the morning and crave that first cup of coffee to wake me up.

I’m sure I can cut down on the Irn Bru, but I love the taste of coffee so I reckon that’ll have to be my vice (everybody’s got to have a vice) and, with a heavy heart, I’ll have to cut down on my beloved tiffins. I’ll give it a couple of months to see if I feel any different and report back then. In the meantime expect more posts in the ‘Rant‘ category!

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

11 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I do a de-tox once a year using a Chinese herbal food supplement. You have to refrain from drinking coffee during the 2 weeks or it counteracts all the good work being done by the supplements. 3 Days in and a constant headache for another 7 days.
    Unlike someone hooked on drugs who are deemed ‘addicts’. The coffee drinker is deemed to be ‘Caffeine dependant’. Lets cut the c*@p, coffee drinkers are addicted to the stuff and will suffer withdrawals on attempting to give it up. Anyway we spent a lot of money on our Gaggia so I have to drink a Late made by it on a daily basis so that I feel that we got value for money.


  2. You’re absolutely right Paul, caffeine is as much a drug as any other – it alters your brain chemistry to cause an addiction and withdrawal symptoms like many illegal drugs. But I agree, these Gaggia’s are by no means cheap and it would be wrong to not get our money’s worth!


  3. well a while back I noticed I was drinking waay too much caffine, my sleeping patterns at the time ended up like this
    stay up till 3am, sleep, wake up at 7am and go to uni, sleep on the way to uni, sleep in lecuture, wake up, sleep on train, wake up, and then go to sleep at 3am again. basically I was all over the place with ups and downs.

    since then I have been more regular, most of my caffine is from tea, which isnt much, that and the odd coke or ice coffee, but I still stay up late and painfully drag myself out of bed in the morning :(.


  4. Fortunately I have never drunk a cup of coffee in my life – it’s never appealed to me in the least, nor has tea. Irn Bru, on the other hand, is a different matter and I’m not even Scottish!

    In my last job I used to get through two or three cans of fizzy pop a day but now I just try to stick to drinking water at work. Not always successfully though – sometimes I’ll buy a Coke for a caffeine hit if I’m tired or to reward myself. Actually, that stuff is really hard to give up completely. Have you seen what it does to your teeth?

    I also have a terrible habit of getting the munchies during mid-afternoon which means a trip to our onsite shop to buy the current chocolate bar du jour. At the moment it’s Fry’s


  5. Well at least I’m not the only one! I have managed to cut down on the chocolate bars at least. And John, I didn’t realise (or had forgotten) that you liked Irn Bru – excellent! 🙂


  6. ahhh caffeine, I have that addiction, too. Tea, soda, frappuccinos from Starbuck’s, etc.

    lol — I have had IRN BRU! — brought from Scotland by a friend in the big 2 liter bottle — at another friend’s craving request. As I recall, I liked it! Although, I am quite sure its consumption shaved a few days off of my lifespan!


  7. hi i resently gave up alcohol canibis and caffeine 3 months ago and since then ive been suffering with realy bad panic attacks and today ive drank quite a few cup of coffee with caffine and i feel very dizzy faint and panicky is there anything i can eat or drink that will counteract the caffine in my system?.


  8. Hi amy. Unfortunately caffeine, like any drug, will have to work its way through your system before the effects wear off and as far as I’m aware there isn’t any sort of antidote to its effects. There are drugs you can take which have the opposite effect to caffeine but I suspect fighting fire with fire isn’t really sensible.

    Eating a sandwich along with a glass of milk is probably the best thing you can do to kick your digestive system off and get the caffeine through your system quicker.


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