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Health Spotlight | Caffeine: The good and the bad

Health Spotlight | Caffeine: The good and the bad

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world. More than 90% of adult Americans consume caffeine regularly. But there are both benefits and risks when it comes to using this popular stimulant.

It perks you up and provides a boost of energy – but what are the benefits and drawbacks of caffeine?

On the positive side, caffeine may improve your performance during endurance exercise. It may also boost weight loss by temporarily suppressing your appetite and helping your body make more energy when digesting food. Research from Johns Hopkins shows it also may sharpen your long-term memory. And one study found that caffeine applied directly to the skin of mice helped prevent UV light from causing skin cancer. Beverages that contain caffeine, like coffee, contain powerful antioxidants.

Ashley Hinds, RDN, LDN, CEDRD, registered dietitian, says, “There are some studies that show a lot of, actually, nutrition benefits to coffee.”

Various studies have found coffee consumption may lessen your risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and other medical conditions. But – too much caffeine can have negative consequences.

Ashley Hinds, RDN, LDN, CEDRD, says, “I’m always aware of that caffeine can actually increase our anxiety and it can disrupt our sleep cycle.”

Caffeine may also affect fertility. According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, caffeine can reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by about 27%. And women who consume caffeine during menopause are more likely to have hot flashes and night sweats. Experts generally recommend no more than 400 milligrams a day – that’s about four, eight-ounce cups of coffee. Helping you understand the pros and cons of caffeine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that kids under 12 should avoid caffeine. Twelve to 18 year olds should have no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day. And experts advise pregnant women to consume no more than 200 milligrams a day.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.