Citing experts in research, Ross Grant said that “caffeine is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug,” in his plenary session at the 3rd Global Conference on Healthy and Lifestyle in Loma Linda, California, United States, on July 12, 2019. Photo: Adventist News Network

Although benefits of coffee drinking are often touted by media and scientists alike, 3rd Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle plenary speaker Ross Grant said that “caffeine doesn’t give you anything. It tricks the body into thinking you’re better, but it’s actually taking away.”

“Caffeine is not a nutrient,” he said. “It’s a drug.”

Grant, a biochemical pharmacologist at Sydney Adventist Hospital Research Seminars, Faculty of Medicines, in Australia, said that although caffeine intake can seem to elevate mood and increase alertness and energy, “it only makes you feel more energetic. In reality, it doesn’t give you any additional energy at all.”

Caffeine can produce anxiety and jitteriness; is linked to increased anxiety and depression, especially in children; and can exaggerate the body’s response to stress by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, he added.

More Negative Health Effects

Grant shared data indicating that daily consumption of caffeine is associated with increased risk of osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It also has been shown to disrupt sleep.

Ross Grant, a biochemical pharmacologist at Sydney Adventist Hospital Research Seminars in Australia, Grant said that caffeine intake can affect higher cognitive functions, such as switching attention, working memory, and inhibiting inappropriate responses, during his plenary session at the 3rd Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle in Loma Linda, California, United States, on July 12, 2019. Photo: Adventist News Network

Effects on newborns can be significant, Grant added. Studies indicate that caffeine intake by pregnant women is associated with an increased risk of delivering babies with low birth weight through growth retardation.

In young adults, caffeine intake can affect higher cognitive functions, such as switching attention, working memory, and inhibiting inappropriate responses, Grant explained. “Caffeinated beverages also leads to lower overall levels of creativity,” he added.

Summing It Up

Although caffeine can increase your perception of being awake and temporarily elevate your mood, it also can increase the risk of heart disease, low birth weight in babies, and anxiety and depression, Grant said.

“It lessens sleep quality and reduces blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, affecting executive functions such as memory and planning skills, and reduces creative-thinking and problem-solving abilities.”

“Coffee drinking is used for and associated with social engagement, leisure, and the enhancement of work performance and well-being,” he added, so we may not view the negative health benefits of consuming caffeine as seriously as we should.

Citing Philippians 2:5—”Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (NKJV)—Grant asked, “Are we assisting the development of a Christ-like mind if we consume caffeine?”

“Evidence indicates that we are not.”

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