In last weeks post I wrote about a study that showed sleep restriction (4 hours a night) promoted weight gain. In the study, the authors hypothesized that the weight gain was due to increased ghrelin levels and late-night eating (1). This study triggered my Alice In Wonderland and sent me down a research rabbit hole. Let’s face it, we are fighting an uphill battle in the obesity fight. As humans we are wired to eat and a lack of sleep is only making that worse. Recent research has shown a correlation between a lack of sleep with increased consumption of sugary, caffeinated beverages (2). In the study, Short and sweet: Associations between self-reported sleep duration and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults in the United States, they analyzed data from 18,799 adults who self reported sleep durations and completed two 24 hour dietary recalls. Out of the 18,799 adults, 13% slept five hours or less. The group of people who slept five hours or less had a 21% increased in sugary caffeinated beverages. Granted, the lack of sleep could have been a contributor to the increased consumption of caffeinated beverages. And usually most caffeinated beverages contain sugar so that could account for the increased intake. But I don't think that is the reason why. I believe a lack of sleep is rewiring our brain causing us to crave sugary foods and there are studies to back this claim.
In my experience as a trainer I have come to realize that losing weight and getting in shape is very challenging for the everyday person. Especially in America where work comes first and sleep second. We are encouraged to burn the midnight oil and told that that sleep is for the weak. Unfortunately, this couldn’t further from the truth. Lack of sleep is making people weak and fat. .The latest statistics from stateofobesity.org state that 38% of adults are obese and of that percentage, 8% are extremely obese. To put this perspective, 1 in 3 adults are obese. Yes, exercise and diet play a huge role, but they aren’t the only things that matter. After all, sleep determines what we eat and how we perform in the gym. However, we have forgotten how influential sleep can be. But don’t worry, by the end of this post you will know the importance of sleep and how it influences your hunger.
I am not sure when this happened, but at some point the media projected this idea that coffee was bad for you. Most likely this idea stemmed from the fact that the majority of people turn their morning coffee into a morning milkshake. Hopefully, you aren’t doing the same, rather, you are drinking it the old fashioned way, pure black. Over the last couple of weeks we have discussed how coffee improves your mood and focus by increasing your excitatory neurotransmitters, including dopamine, noradrenaline and acetylcholine. We talked about how this feeling can be addicting, but isn’t necessarily bad for you, the danger lies in the dose and how you react to that dose. For some, coffee does wonders for them and for others it doesn’t. But for me, it is my saving grace and my go to beverage. In fact, I am drinking a cup of coffee right now, it is a ritual for me and a way to jumpstart the writing process. But I digress, you didn’t come here to learn about the writing process, you came here to learn about the benefits of drinking coffee. And by the end of this post you will learn two more benefits that will convince you not to give up your favorite beverage.
We live in stressful times. We work more than we sleep and deal with stressful situations daily. Be it money or social media, we are living in an environment that no one ever envisioned or has dealt with. Our body and mind was not designed to deal with these new stressors. The environment is taking its toll and for some, drugs are their saving grace. Be it coffee, alcohol, exercise, food, marijuana or more lethal ones like cocaine, painkiller and heroin. It is important to realize that anything that manipulates your brain is a drug, and everything mentioned above is a drug, even food and even exercise. Some drugs, like exercise and food can be very beneficial, but too much of anything can be a bad thing. I am a firm believer that everything has a darkside, and there is a yin and yang to this life. Today, I am going to address one of the most used drugs in America, your morning cup of coffee. Last week I talked about how it worked and kept you awake, I briefly wrote about its mood enhancing effects and how it increases neurotransmitter levels in the brain.