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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days

Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days

A previous boss of mine once proudly stated that he drank 10 cups of coffee every single day.

Completely baffled, yet also intrigued by that statement, I couldn’t help but wonder how he might feel.

Is his sleep restful? Does he feel productive and healthy? Is drinking this amount dangerous?

That’s why I decided recently to voluntarily get addicted to caffeine – I drank 70 cups of coffee in 7 days. Here’s how the caffeine addiction unexpectedly disrupted my health, well-being and productivity.

Day 1: How to deal with caffeine intoxication

The most cups that I ever drank in my life regularly was about 4 cups of coffee a day, which means I didn’t know how my body would react to the caffeine intake in the first place – this was scary, to be honest.

What gave me some security was ranking under-average on the HEXACO personality-test on emotionality (regarding traits such as fearfulness, anxiety and sensitivity). As caffeine has been shown to increase the effect of those traits.[1] If you rate high on the personality test on emotionality, you might feel the effects of the caffeine intake quite strongly.

As I decided to start this experiment late in the day on a whim after immense amount of procrastination, I immediately needed to face two challenges:

  • Not destroying my sleep quality
  • Dealing with caffeine intoxication

The effects of caffeine intoxication were clear after drinking 6 cups of coffee and dealing with stomach problems, I wondered if this challenge can actually be fatal. It happily turned out that the lethal dose of caffeine is considered to be around 10 grams.[2]

This means that I needed to drink about 130 coffees to potentially end myself. I felt safe.

What I didn’t know is that the effects of caffeine intoxication can start at blood-levels of about 250mg.[3] Even if I considered the half-life of caffeine, which turns out to be approximately 6 hours, I already passed that benchmark.[4]

While I dealt with gastrointestinal problems from the get-go, at that point I also dealt with rambling flow of thoughts and speech, restlessness, severe sweating bursts and later on insomnia.

At that time, I worked for my eCornell certification in Plant Based Nutrition and various other projects. I was busy but I wasn’t being productive. I had to postpone nearly all of the endeavours.

How to deal with the acute, negative effects

As caffeine has been shown to increase your cortisol levels, it’s important to implement stress relieving tactics in your day. I ended the first day with a long-walk, while listening to soothening piano music.

I also played a calming instrument at the end of the day, wore blue-light blocking glasses and shut down my mobile phone atleast 2 hours before going to sleep. Regarding diet I ate 3 kiwis[5] and drank a chamomile tea, which are linked to melatonin production and decreased cortisol levels.[6]

These are all stress-relieving tactics that have worked for me in the past. We all should have at least 3 tactics on your hand that we can implement to relieve stress in our daily life. The more often we use them, the more effective they become, as our brain starts to associate these tactics with stress relief.

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Day 2: How it made me nearly depressive

I like to go to sleep and wake up early. Yet the 10 cups of coffee completely disrupted my natural sleep cycle.

After planning to wake up at 5am, I ultimately woke up at 8am after 7 hours of sleep.

I woke up with slight nausea, probably from the caffeine intoxication of yesterday. At that point, I also realized that the second day would be the hardest day of the challenge. Considering the half-life of 6 hours, I still got about 200mg of caffeine in my blood at that time.

While one cup of coffee used to pump me up quite good in the past, I now couldn’t feel a difference at all in energy levels. I have noted energy increases at 3 cups of coffee. Which funnily enough put me back into the caffeine intoxication blood-levels.

While I planned to exercise quite early in the morning, I only found the willpower at 3pm on day 2. But going for this jogging session might be the best decision that I ever did on this challenge. Here’s why:

How I cracked the code to the challenge

I’m still not sure if it was the increased blood flow to the brain or the unbearing circumstances of the challenge that made me come up with the solution to the caffeine problem.

I decided to deal with the three most productivity-reducing challenges on the experiment:

  1. Random, excessive sweating
  2. Gastrointestinal issues
  3. Impaired thinking and increased anxiety

I dealt with the random, excessive sweating while adding ice to my coffee and drinking a cold smoothie at the same time. While cold beverages are regulating your body temperature, they also decrease the blood flow to your digestive system. They therefore might also slow or hinder the absorption of the caffeine.

The gastrointestinal issues have been treated with increased fiber intake. I aimed to eat atleast 50grams of fiber every single day. This is 150% of the RDA.[7]

The impaired thinking and increased anxiety were obliterated by daily exercise or random naps. I actually felt like I took control of the experiment.

Yet I was proved wrong in the following days. Here came day 3.

Day 3: Awake for 23 hours

The most amazing part of this caffeine challenge was the tolerance build up.

The third day I woke up at 4:30 in the morning while having my last 3 coffees less than 9 hours ago.

Falling asleep was easy. This was the first day I woke up energized and motivated during the challenge. I gulped down 3 cups of coffees and went for a workout.

The gastrointestinal issues should have been sorted out because this was my first day that my stool was on the Bristol scale between type 2-4 again. This might sound weird but the consistency of our feaces is an indicator of our overall health.[8]

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I ended the day at 3am after going out. This was the moment that I realized that I was awake for 23 hours.

I wondered if this caffeine challenge was indeed ending me, without me even noticing it.

How fast does your body build up a caffeine tolerance?

A first time coffee drinker or one that has abstained from caffeine for a long time has no tolerance to caffeine. This is when caffeine works the best and produces the following positive side effects:

  1. Alertness
  2. Euphoria
  3. Motivation

In the caffeine challenge, I didn’t see those positive effects after a couple of days. In fact, according to this study, caffeine tolerance can start to build up within 1 days.[9]

Caffeine works because it blocks our adenosine receptors. This increases our state of arousal and our capacity for performance.

But here’s the thing:

Your brain knows that something is not quite right after caffeine consumption and is producing more adenosine receptors. Apparently the feelings of fatigue are crucial for our survival, which means the caffeine tolerance starts building up.

If you drink the same amount of coffee for several days, you don’t see positive effects anymore. Unless you increase the dose of the substance.

Welcome to the caffeine rat race!

Day 4: The caffeine rat race

I soon realized that the morning on caffeine addiction are absolutely horrible. On day 4 I could barely open my eyes. It felt like someone sewed them together mid-night.

This is a phenomena called sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is the grogginess one feels after 15-60 minutes after waking. I noticed that the caffeine addiction increases this feeling.

Important:

Do not drive a vehicle or make important decisions within that time frame, especially if you’re on high doses of caffeine.

You can decrease the effects of sleep inertia by taking a short nap (under 30 minutes), exercising or, ironically, drinking a caffeinated beverage.

I assumed that sleep inertia might be incur on this challenge because the caffeine-level is lowest in the morning. Excess caffeine intake increases your levels of adenosine receptors in your brain. The more adenosine receptors you have, the more fatigued you will be, especially if you have no caffeine in your blood.

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Caffeine addiction and the law of diminishing return

In economics, the law of diminishing return refers to a point at which the level of benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

I like to drink coffee. I’ve experimented with caffeine before and I realized that 2 coffees a day are giving myself the best results long-term. The first day I already noticed that the next 8 coffees are not giving me much benefits.

To the contrary:

While 2 coffees used to produce euphoria and increased motivation, they now produced no effects at all. Combined with 8 other coffees in a day, they instead resulted to increased and anxiety and slight nausea.

Day 5: The 12-hour work shift

After drinking 8 cups of coffee plus having a jogging session before 2pm, I felt ready to tackle my first work-day after my holidays.

What I lacked in energy in the morning, I compensated with energy in the evening. I finished work at 1am, with decent overtime. This made me realize that there’s a different energy curve in coffee addiction:

The energy curve in coffee addiction

There was an upside to the caffeine challenge. While energy levels during the day are usually correlated with time of the day (and therefore light-levels), body temperature and nutrient intake. These factors are based on our circadian rhythm and therefore mostly out of our control.[10]

On this challenge instead, I felt like I could exercise some level of control on my energy levels by altering my caffeine intake. If I ingested 200mg of caffeine (3 cups of coffee) or more I noticed a slight increase in energy.

While my energy pre-challenge was more even during the day, I noticed more ups and downs during the challenge. Overall I must conclude that I had more energy and a way higher baseline of my energy on my usual, lower caffeine intake.

Day 6: Surviving after a hard work day

After waking up at 10am, my stomach was turning. It’s another day of late shift and I’m struggling to deal with the basic challenges of human life again on this experiment. Getting out of bed seemed impossible.

What followed were 8 hours of stressful work. After finishing work at 11pm, I got anxious about the early shift at the 7th day.

The anxiety producing effects of caffeine

Anxiety is an unpleasant, high-arousal state, classified by high sympathetic (fight-or-flight) activity. Caffeine has been shown to increase the level of your sympathetic nervous system.

Regular consumption of high caffeine doses can lead to a a condition known as caffeinism.[11] On this experiment, I suddenly realized how I stressed out about unimportant things and could barely make a decision.

In a leadership position, staying cool-headed and being decisive is important. The caffeine intake aggravated both of these traits in myself.

Day 7: Surviving on 3.5 hours on sleep

This day was a real stress test. I had to wake up at 4:30am for my early shift which started at 6am. Normally, I can deal with acute sleep loss quite easily but I could barely open my eyes on that day. My head was flushed.

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After ingesting more than 4 coffees in less than 1 hour, I stumbled to open the fitness center and start training clients. After 7 hours of drudgery on a sleep-deprived basis, I called it quit.

After gulping down the last cups of brown liquid in a coffee shop, my foggy brain forced me to do an impulse purchase of expensive clothes. I earned it.

How your caffeine addiction is torching your money

On the last day, I treated myself with a double espresso at the said coffee shop. I paid $5 for that beverage.

While this might not be a huge expenditure, it can definitely add up in the long-term. Five double espressos a day would cost me $25. If we multiply this by 365 (days in a year), we end up with $9,125.

This is enough money to pay for a 20-days, exclusive 5-star hotel vacation on the breath-taking archipelago of Fiji every single year (with flight prices included)!

If we add all the impulsive purchases during that time and multiply it by 50 (weeks in a year), partly due to caffeine and/or sleep deprivation,[12] we can add easily another 2-3 weeks to this chic holiday.

Day 8+: How to deal with the caffeine withdrawal

After I drank the last cups of coffee, I went to sleep for at least 12 hours. The following two days of the caffeine challenge were marked by withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased exercise performance
  • Brain fog
  • Sleepiness

The most debilitating factor was sleepiness. The next 2 days I slept double the amount that I usually did, 12+ hours. My alarm clock used ‘wake Florian up’ – it was not effective.

While I went through the motions in my work, I felt like I didn’t produce anything productive at all.

Conclusion

The caffeine addiction unexpectedly disrupted my health, well-being and productivity.

I can now state with good conscience that drinking 10 cups of coffee a day was not beneficial for myself. And we’ve discovered a lot of scientific evidence, proving that:

Caffeine has a diminishing rate of return on our productivity and well-being. It can also increase our anxiety and reduce our thinking capabilities. This can decrease our effectiveness in dealing with the daily challenges that we face as busy professionals, where we need a clear head and decisiveness.

While caffeine might produce short-term productivity gains (due to the altered energy curve) and therefore might help us reach deadlines, it’s not recommended to use it in high doses in the long-term.

To watch the raw, vlog-like video of the challenge from this article. Check out the following video! Warning: It’s not for the faint-hearted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nqnsktX0Ts

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Florian Wüest

Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? Here’s How To Break Through It How to Gain Muscle Quickly and Naturally (A Step-by-Step Guide) Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

Weeknights are wild. There are hobby meetings, sports events, date nights, late-night work calls, kids’ bath time, TV show premiers (of course), and there’s also… dinner?

Trying to cram in making a recipe, eating dinner (let alone enjoying the meal) and cleaning the kitchen in under an hour always seemed like it would take some sort of divine intervention. Well, let me introduce you to the power pressure cooker, aka the game changer.

The power pressure cooker makes the impossible possible. You can create a healthy, balanced meal in under an hour from start to finish. Even decadent dishes such as braised short ribs or whole meals such as salmon with potatoes and broccoli can be enjoyed from start to finish with breeze on a weeknight.

Is there anything easier than throwing your whole meal in one pot and letting the pot do the work? I can’t think of anything. It’s as if you significantly upgraded the already kitchen staple, the crockpot.

Here are some of my favorite power pressure cooker recipes to get dinner on the table under pressure:

1. Ramen Soup

    For those nights when all you need is a big hug, ramen is the perfect dish! High in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic and spinach this 20-minute soup is good for you in every which way.

    This quick ramen is balanced with lean protein from the chicken and soft-boiled eggs, starches from the noodles, and a salty broth that makes you crave more!

    To bump this recipe up even more nutritionally, try doubling the carrot and spinach for extra vitamin power.

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. 4-minute Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes

      What is better than a perfectly balanced meal in just 4 minutes? I can’t think of anything!

      This wonderfully fatty fish blends so well with the super food broccoli and starch of the potatoes that you won’t believe it was done in such a short amount of time!

      Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (aka fish oil) that helps our heart, skin, joints, GI tract, and much more!

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Beef Gyros

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        A warm pita wrapped around freshly made gyros, toppings, and even Tzatziki sauce, oh my! This recipe goes from fridge to plate in under an hour with only 15 minutes of prep time!

        When creating the Tzatziki sauce, be sure to grab plain Greek Yogurt. This yogurt is naturally higher in protein, adding another nutritional benefit to this great dish! You can also opt for a whole wheat pita to add some extra fiber too!

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Shrimp Boil

          This recipe is perfect for summer beach nights, a classic shrimp boil recipe that you don’t have to spend all day preparing! This recipe is fun finger food to the max! It is delicious, satisfying and tastes the best when served on a picnic table.

          To take this recipe to the next level, adjust the proportions of veggies to protein. By increasing the corn and decreasing the amount of Andouille sausage, you can decrease the total sodium and calories while increasing the fiber and vitamins!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Mexican Quinoa

            The perfect one pot meal with fiber, protein, and lots of flavor! This is a vegetarian and meat-lover dream!

            Quinoa is the perfect substitution for white rice in this classic recipe while complimenting the beans to create a protein filled dish. Plus the addition of all those vegetables creates a meal that is bursting with flavor. Top this Mexican quinoa with fresh avocado to perfectly round it out.

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            6. Lo Mein

              This Lo Mein will stomp any greasy, take-out craving you have without the usual guilt! It is not very often, you can replace a sinful bowl of take-out with something so delicious and easy to make at home!

              Make this Lo Mein in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That’s faster than it takes for the delivery person to show up at the door!

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              7. Whole “Rotisserie” Chicken

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                Everyone knows that the secret to batch cooking is to have a whole chicken cooked to use in various ways throughout the week!

                This recipe makes the most perfectly moist rotisserie chicken that can be used as is, for tacos, for soup, and for sandwiches all week long!

                Tip: keep the bones and scraps to make an amazing chicken stock to have on hand! Cooking the stock longer and at a lower temperature will create a delicious bone broth rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                8. Chicken and Lentil Soup

                  This is the coziest soup around! Rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins, this soup will meet all your cravings!

                  It also couldn’t be easier for a rushed weekday meal, all you have to do is chop and let your power pressure cooker do the work!

                  In just 30 minutes, you will have a warming soup that the whole family can enjoy!

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls

                    Is there anyone out there that doesn’t enjoy a good burrito bowl? This veggie bowl is the perfect one-pot meal that is easily customizable!

                    From vegans to meat-lovers, everyone will enjoy this easy, fiber-rich bowl. Add whatever toppings you please to create a burrito bowl that is just as good as a restaurant’s!

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Rice and Beans

                      The classic rice and beans dish is a staple for many reasons. It is full of perfectly complimented proteins, great texture, and balanced seasonings. Now, you can create this filling balanced meal in under an hour! No more pre-soaking those beans!

                      This perfectly seasoned, filling balanced meal will have everyone fighting for another bowl!

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                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Summer Quinoa Salad

                        Your fresh in-season berries were made for this quick salad!

                        Take this nutrient dense salad to a party or serve it as light, summer dinner to have everyone asking for the recipe!

                        The quinoa, fruit, vegetables, and nuts create a dish that is perfectly balanced with all the food groups. You can top this salad with cooked chicken breast or leave it as-is to meet everyone needs!

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Minestrone Soup

                          This Minestrone Soup is quick and veggie full making it perfect for any weeknight dinner! It is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin A making it the perfect dinner for the whole family!

                          Tip: Use whole grain noodles to increase the fiber and B vitamins of this tasty dish!

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Lemon Garlic Chicken

                            Make your protein and side dish at the same time with flavorful chicken that the whole family will love! In less than an hour, you can have a beautiful and balanced plate with veggies and protein.

                            This flavorful lemon garlic chicken will give you the protein and excitement to spice up any plate!

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Chicken Fajitas

                              Quick, easy and very few dirty dishes are used to create these fajitas that will rival even your favorite Mexican restaurant!

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                              Feel free to top these with whatever you wish but be sure to include fresh avocado for a bump-up in vitamins and minerals.

                              Tip: If you enjoy sour cream on your fajitas, opt for plain Greek yogurt that is higher in protein, lower in calories, and just as tasty!

                              ~ Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Coconut Chicken Curry

                                A big bowl of coconut chicken curry over rice is what dreams are made of! This bright, flavorful dish is full of vegetables and lean protein without the dryness!

                                What can usually take a few hours, create this colorful dish in just 30 minutes with your power pressure cooker!

                                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Cashew Chicken

                                  This take-out classic can be on your plate in just 20-minutes but you can pretend you took hours to create it when everyone asks for the recipe! You can double the green bell pepper to increase the veggies without sacrificing any flavor. Serve this classic over brown rice for extra fiber and minerals.

                                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Meatloaf

                                    Meatloaf has been a menu staple since sliced bread but never did it only take 20 minutes to make! This recipe includes the meatloaf and the sides to create a one-pot dream. Perfect to serve after long weekdays, this dish is a comforting staple.

                                    And don’t be fooled by the short cooking time, this meatloaf is the best of both worlds- it’s juicy and fast to make!

                                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                    Despite its apparent roots in the crockpot concept, power pressure cooker meals are apt to be much healthier. Without the need for fatty sauces to create flavor and prevent dryness, the power pressure cooker uses the heat generated by the water to cook the food. This leads to more flavor without dryness and overall leaner meals.

                                    The power pressure cooker is the answer for anyone striving for healthy, balanced meals with a crazy weeknight schedule.

                                    It really can do it all. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll feel great after enjoying healthy, balanced meals while easily juggling all the activities you enjoy!

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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