Caffeine: Coffee, Tea or Soda
Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine.
Most people drink coffee, tea or soda for the caffeine. Sometimes it is to wake up in the morning. Other times it is for a day time pick me up. Even other times it is just for the taste or to accompany or finish off a meal.
So which is better for you?
Well that all depends on a variety of reasons. Instead of attempting to list out all the reasons, which would be impossible, I am going to provide a few ideas for thought.
There are many varieties of coffee and people quickly find their preferences along with what they like to add if anything at all to their cup of joe. Those additions range from milk, creamer, sugar and sugar substitutes all the way to ice, whipped cream, and orange or lemon peel. Sometimes for an added kick people add shots of espresso. Now that can amp one up.
Coffee has been scientifically found to have many benefits. When thinking about these, I highlight that it is predominately water based, which is great for the body, cells, and skin. Without additions, keeping it black prevents added calories and can be good any time of the day.
There are numerous almost uncountable tea varieties, red, black, white, green, etc. Just like coffee, people tend to find preferences rather quickly. People also opt for different flavors and varieties at different times of the day and/or based upon energy levels and mood. Tea can range from herbal and decaffeinated to stronger than coffee depending on type, brewing and steeping.
Similar additions to coffee are options, yet again most health benefits are maximized through only adding water. However certain combinations such as lemon and green tea enhance flavor and health benefits.
Regular soda is predominantly sugar/high fructose corn syrup. It consists of many more calories than coffee or tea without additions. However, adding milks, creams, and sugars to coffee or tea quickly start to add many calories. The body does not properly recognize soda’s liquid calories, and therefore most people tend to eat more and consume more calories with a soda.
For this reason, many people choose to drink diet or no/low calorie sodas. Although science is inconclusive, these types of sodas with added sweeteners might have long term health consequences.
Everyone chooses what to drink based on a variety of reasons. Besides these three beverages (coffee, tea and soda) most associated with caffeine intake, it is important to note that plain water can actually alleviate feelings of lethargy.
Many times when people feel tired and in need of a pick me up it is because they are dehydrated. Since the three beverages mentioned in this article tend to have a diuretic effect (water loss), it might serve people best to reach for water to get moving and gain energy.
Kyle Washburn is the National Health and Fitness Editor at Edge Publications, Inc. He earned a BS in Physiology, M.Ed in Sport Psychology and Counseling and an MBA. He is a certified personal trainer through NASM and ACE and has been training for over ten years. He is an avid triathlete, softball and tennis player, runner, hiker and enjoys the outdoors.