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coffee addicts

If you’re giving up or reducing your coffee intake for your New Year's resolutions – my deepest sympathies go out to you.

If you're thinking about cutting the caffeine – listen up, I've already done the hard work and went cold turkey for one long week and here's how I got on.

I must confess that on a good day I will have one or two cups of coffee and on a bad one, that number will creep to three, maybe even four.

So kicking the habit, I knew might be a little bit of a challenge, but I didn’t think it would make a massive difference – oh, those famous last words…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Day one was relatively easy. I had three coffees the day before which might explain the ease of which I got through the day.

However, the next day was an entirely different story. My mood was so low and I was experiencing palpitations.

This was only made worse when I dined out as usually I would order an espresso to round up the meal as it helps digestion

Of course, my little shot of heaven was forbidden, but lucky enough for me, my fellow dinner guests weren't interested in ordering any teas or coffees, so I didn’t feel like I was completely missing out.

Day three, I watched my mother add cream to the expensive coffee I treated the household too. I did everything to distract my brain whilst she expressed just how delicious her coffee was – it was torture.

Our day was scheduled to stop in a coffee shop, but again, I was given a lifeline as thanks to the festive period, they were closed.

Day four was a challenge. I did a coffee run with my mother and I finally caved and had a decaffeinated coffee.

I was hoping the placebo effect would kick in and I would get some sort of buzz – I have no idea why I thought it would work as obviously without the caffeine, coffee quickly loses its appeal and energy boosting properties.

I knocked down the warm brown liquid with a sulky look on my face.

I really thought the reactions people experienced from giving up caffeine were fake. I have since learnt that they are all too real.

Day five was a day I had been dreading the whole week. I was working and I usually rely on coffee to give me my morning energy to get into the office.

I knew my coffee crutch would be very hard to ignore, so I made myself a deal. I wouldn’t go near the kitchen until my shift was finished.

This way my hunger would outweigh my desire for caffeine. Although it’s a method I wouldn’t recommend, it did work and I survived the day without having a breakdown.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Day six and I was STILL experiencing palpations, particularly at night time when they'd come thick and fast. My tactic to get through the day was to constantly distract myself, knowing the experiment wouldn’t last much longer.

One thing I certainly didn’t expect to experience is how much I thought about coffee – not being allowed to have it, made it so much more tempting.

Day seven and I was back working. I kept my head down and powered through the day. Lucky enough for me, a lot of my symptoms had begun to subside and I didn’t feel like total crap. However, I was very much looking forward to finishing the experiment and going back to my relationship with coffee.

The morning had finally arrived and I am not messing – I actually got up earlier to enjoy my cup of coffee AND even treated the family to a coffee run – (though this was mainly out of guilt for being so moody over the week, sorry mum).

It was divine and there’s no way I am ever going back, life is too short not to enjoy at least one coffee a day.

Since giving the challenge a go, I’ve reduced my intake and have been more aware of how much caffeine I am consuming.

Before embarking on a lifestyle change, please contact your doctor first.

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Any coffee addicts in your life are going to be feeling quite smug with this news. 

Researchers have said that people who report drinking three to five cups of the caffeinated deliciousness are less likely to die prematurely from certain diseases.

These included heart disease, suicide, diabetes and Parkinson's disease. 

Even better news! Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee were shown to have benefits, said the study by researchers at the Harvard University Chan School of Public Health.

The study compared people who do not drink coffee, or drank less than two cups daily, to those who reported drinking "moderate" amounts of coffee, or up to five cups daily.

The study did not prove a cause-and-effect for coffee and the reduced likelihood of certain diseases. However, they uncovered an apparent link that is in alignment with previous research, and that scientists are interested in studying further.

"Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation," which according to first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition, explains many of their findings. 

No protective effect was found against cancer in this study. Some previous research has pointed to a link between coffee consumption and a lower risk of certain cancers.

The study was based on data gathered from three ongoing surveys of some 300,000 nurses and other health professionals who agree to answer questionnaires about their own medical conditions and habits over the course of 30 years. 

"In the whole study population, moderate coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease, and suicide," said the findings. 

The experts did warn that coffee may not be right for everyone. Shocking, but true.

"Regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet," said senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard. 

"However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages."

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Some of us will do absolutely anything we can to ensure that our caffeine needs are met. Once upon a time one unlucky SHEmazing staff member even went so far as to include coffee in her porridge. Needless to say that was one recipe that we didn’t feel the need to share with the world. 

However, the latest snack option for caffeine lovers sounds far more appealing. 

Say hello to caffeinated peanut butter. Creamy, delicious and yes filled with enough caffeine to ensure you probably won’t need that midday nap.

A creation from the people at Steem, the spread allegedly contains the same amount of caffeine you would get from two cups of coffee in two mere tablespoons. 

A two tablespoon serving has 170 milligrams of caffeine, FYI. Mashable reports that the peanut butter concoction was originally created as a hangover cure. Chris Pettazzoni, one of the creators, said that they’ve been working on the recipe for quite a while.

Apparently the reason it took them so long was because the first recipes had a caffeine content that was too high. 

"The release of energy was so much better from the PB that I stopped drinking coffee completely." 

This is in part because the slow digestion of peanut butter means that the caffeine is released into your body slowly rather than in one intense shot.

While the caffeine content may be off-putting for some, the fact that it is made with all-natural peanut butter and no artificial sweeteners is enough to get our attention. 

You can try it for yourself if you’re willing to part with €4. Steem peanut butter is available to buy on Amazon and the brand’s official website.

We’re feeling pretty tempted right now to be honest.

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Just when you thought we had reached pumpkin spice latte levels, another caffeinated beverage comes along to take the top spot. We genuinely thought that this season only had room for one intense blended drink but we were so wrong. 

No no- there are no canines involved in this new move. Your pugs are safe. Allow us to introduce you to the Beast Mode Frappuccino. 

Yes, you read that correctly, Starbucks have official turned beast mode on, and now we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

Do you drink it? Do you try and lift it? 

Actually, if you were feeling the need for some added protein in your life then you’re in luck because that’s exactly what has been added to this beverage. 

“The new blended beverage, as unique as its creator, is a double mocha Frappuccino with a hint of mint and cream and just enough protein powder to unleash your inner Beast Mode.

It’s topped with whipped cream, then finished with a purple berry drizzle and a sprinkle of matcha.”

Sounds, powerful. 

The creator of the Beast Mode Frapuccino is Marshawn Lynch, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks in the US. He’s a running back, FYI, and he has an interesting thing about Skittles.

Thankfully (we think) there are no Skittles included. However, despite the lack of Skittles, he is a big fan of his creation:

"I’d drink this before a workout," Lynch said in a statement. "…I'm all 'bout that." 

Starbucks will donate 24 cents — Lynch's jersey number — to the Fam 1st Family Foundation for every Beast Mode sold. He co-founded the foundation in 2011 to mentor children on education, literacy and self-esteem. 

We're always happy to caffeinate for a cause.

Unfortunately, no word has come as to whether the Irish Starbucks will be unleashing the Beast Mode of the nation, but if they do we feel like it could be very interesting.

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We just cannot seem to win with coffee drinks these days.

What we thought was a straight forward latte is shunned by the health enthusiasts. Just as we adjusted to sweeteners, they were also getting a slap on the wrist, and when they told us to start putting butter in there we nearly threw in the towel altogether. 

Not surprisingly then, opting for plain black coffee  seemed like the way we could avoid any caffeine confrontations.

Unfortunately that may not be true.

If you take your coffee black, you could be a psychopath. Excuse us? 

A study, published in the journal Appetite, revealed  people who have bitter taste preferences could also exhibit psychopathic tendencies.

The researchers at Innsbruck University in Austria surveyed 500 men and women, reports the Independent. They were shown a list of food and drink items categorized as bitter, sweet, salty and sour. They were tasked with rating  the foods —which included bacon, lemons, candy and coffee—on a six-point scale.

Participants were then asked to fill out four personality questionnaires which measured their aggression levels and assessed personality traits of Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism.

They answered questions relating to the “Big 5” personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

They also completed the “Comprehensive Assessment of Sadistic Tendencies,” which is probably about as much fun as having a tooth pulled we imagine.

The results showed bitter taste preferences to be “positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy.” 

Interestingly, also on the list of examples for bitter tastes: tonic water, celery and beer. Perhaps all of those green juice drinkers are not feeling as 'balanced' as they would have us believe.

However, Shape magazine have been quick to point out that the study may not be as accurate as many would believe. They reminded everyone that correlation doesn‘t necessarily equal causation. Meaning: because there is a “positive association” between any two things it does not mean that one of those things will directly cause the other thing.

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If you’re a caffeine fiend, and so many of us quite simply are, then you know that when it comes to coffee certain drinks can end up being more like cake than the delicious beverage.

Trying to cut out excess sugar without abstaining from coffee entirely can therefore be a bit of a challenge.

While plenty of coffee chains (Starbucks, we’re looking at you) tell you how many calories are in their drinks; the sugar breakdown is less than visible.

So, if you’re trying to cut down on the sugar consider branching out and giving one of these orders a try instead of your usual.

The World Health Organisation recommends no more than six teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar to be your daily sugar consumption, these are a few orders that fall within those guidelines.

Skinny latte: 0g

Cappuccino: 10g

Americano: 0g

Latte: 17g

A Starbucks Skinny Peppermint Mocha (festive): 13g

Sadly, this is not on the Irish menu yet but we reckon the fact that it is much lower in sugar than some other seasonal drinks makes an excellent case for the possibility of seeing it next year.

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Caffeine fiends… there has been some terrible news.

As a result of our relentless love of caffeinated beverages, it seems that there might be a shortage in the future. The global demand for our favourite hot drink seems to be putting a strain on supply.

According to Bloomberg, the 2015-16 season of coffee production is expected to be in deficit of 3.5 million bags. Last year there was a global shortage of 6.4 million bags.

The 2014 drought in Brazil resulted in damaged crops and less coffee to be exported.

There’s also been an increase in coffee consumption that requires an extra 40 million to 50 million bags of coffee to be made. So maybe our little habit is getting more serious than we thought.

Of course, there's also climate change to take into account.

Rising temperatures are putting the Arabica coffee bean at risk, sorry Starbucks lovers! The bean is favourited by the chain but is the bean that is most in danger of facing poor growth.

Your pumpkin spice latte habit might be cut short, and then what would happen?

A world without coffee would surely mean productivity levels worldwide would go into a downward spiral.

Although perhaps not, as farmers as said to already be making changes to adopt to the rising temperatures.

However the Global Coffee Forum is currently taking place in Milan. So, let’s all hope that they can sort this out because winter is coming and we need the help of our favourite warm drinks to get us through it.

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