We drink more than 16 million cups of coffee each day in Australia – but for all our love and familiarity with caffeine, some myths prevails. Here are the facts behind some of them:

Myth What does the research say?
Caffeine is only found in coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks Caffeine is found in more than 60 plants including coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts, guarana berries – and yes, cocoa nuts used to make chocolate products. In fact, a chocolate drink or block of dark chocolate may contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
Caffeine is dehydrating Caffeine makes your body produce more urine than usual – but the effect is only mild. And the fluid you lose in your urine is more than made up for by the fluid you drink in a cup of tea.
It helps you lose wieght There’s not enough proof to show that caffeine helps with weight loss by suppressing your appetite and burning calories. One reason may be that too many sugary, energy drinks or milk and sugar in your coffee adds calories that may cause weight gain.
Caffeine sobers you up Caffeine can increase alertness when you’re drunk. However your brain’s ability to drive safely, such as judging speed and distances, isn’t improved at all. Alcohol in your body needs time to burn up – and caffeine doesn’t make that process go faster.
It is bad for your health Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and, as a result, more than 4-5 cups of strong coffee a day can cause side effects such as fast heart rate, tremours, anxiety and possibly increased blood pressure. However, caffeine is also an anti- oxidant – and studies show that a modest caffeine intake may reduce diabetes and cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease risk.

More information: See your GP, www.druginfo.adf.org.au

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