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The secret to cutting back on caffeine

Artwork of someone holding a large mug with the words, too much coffee? written on it.
Image Credit: Caleigh Reid

Cutting back on caffeine intake can be difficult when you’re a student with a heavy course load. For the longest time, increased caffeine has been promoted to give you a “buzz,” aiding in completing assignments or homework. It’s also understandable that the rise of café culture has been an influence, as these spaces often serve beverages that are potent in caffeine.

“It’s important to remember that caffeine is a drug at the end of the day and just because society has created drinking large consumptions normal, it can still do more harm than good to your body.”

Less talked about are the negative side effects of a high caffeine intake. The two biggest drawbacks include increased anxiety and trouble sleeping. It’s helpful to know healthier alternatives to things like coffee, which are just as delicious and still give you energy, without the negative side effects of caffeine. As with all things, too much of anything can be dangerous. Therefore, having small amounts of caffeine shouldn’t create any dietary imbalances.

The key to any adjustment in your diet is to start with small reductions. For some people, going cold turkey might work, but for most, you need to move through this process slowly. There are many alternatives that students can take when it comes to lowering their caffeine. One of the first alternatives that individuals grab for is decaffeinated coffee. This is a great alternative for those who love the taste that comes from coffee but don’t want the overdone buzz that comes with regular coffee. Decaf coffee has the lowest amount of caffeine, after regular coffee and black tea.

The below highlights how much caffeine is usually in an 8 oz cup of:
Regular coffee: 100mg of caffeine
Black tea: 35mg of caffeine
Green tea: 25mg of caffeine
Decaf: 5mg (or less) of caffeine

It’s safe to assume that coffee lovers who choose decaf as an alternative will significantly decrease their caffeine levels. However, if this is too low of a dosage, drinking certain teas can be a great steppingstone to lowering your caffeine intake.

Remember, the goal doesn’t have to be to completely cut caffeine out of your diet but to simply reduce the amount that you are putting into your body.

There are so many reasons why students might turn to coffee and make drinking it a heavily practiced routine for them. During the winter, the cold weather can naturally warrant warmer beverages, with coffee usually being the first drink of choice. Retraining your mindset on caffeine is important and can be easily done by finding the right alternatives that suit you. Examples of alternative warm drinks include hot chocolate, and various teas. Now that the seasons are changing and warmer days are upon us, it’s the perfect time to reduce highly caffeinated warm drinks.

It’s important to remember that caffeine is a drug at the end of the day and just because society has created drinking large consumptions normal, it can still do more harm than good to your body.

Some other energizing alternatives to try to reduce caffeine include:

  1. Maca
  2. Kombucha
  3. Refreshing drinks such as coconut water, lemon water, lemonade, and fresh juices
  4. Herbal teas

These four alternatives will boost your energy levels due to the substantial nutrients that your body will receive from them. In most cases, treating your body with a more natural approach can result in great benefits in more than one area. Although drinking coffee can be difficult to reduce, it’s important that students stay mindful of their dietary choices and refer to the alternatives from this article or further research.