Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Weight Managment, and a Coffee/Tea/Caffeine Update

Earlier in the year I confessed to drinking about 600-800 mg caffeine per day. My goal was to cut this in half, and so far, so good. As of now I am consuming around 300-400 mg caffeine per day, which is a huge improvement. I recently learned that the average daily consumption of caffeine in the USA is 1000 mg, so perhaps I wasn't doing so bad after all. Yikes!

An article I recently Tweeted about made these claims regarding caffeine:

- Prolonged administration of caffeine is not associated with a significant elevation in blood pressure.

- Caffeine consumption does not result in water-electrolyte imbalance (mainly a concern of athletes).

- Although the above has been shown in studies, be aware that side effects could include anxiety, jitters, inability to focus, gastrointestinal distress, insomnia, irritability, and with higher doses possible heart arrhythmia.

Source: NCSA's Performance Training Journal, volume 8, Issue 6

Speaking of caffeine, here are some excerpts from an article found in BBC news regarding yet another possible benefit of tea and coffee!
Researchers looked at 18 separate studies involving nearly 500,000 people. The analysis revealed that people who drink three or four cups of coffee or tea a day cut their risk [of diabetes, type II] by a fifth or more, say researchers.

The same amount of decaffeinated coffee had an even bigger effect, lowering risk by a third.

If the findings prove true, doctors may well start advising people to put the kettle on as well as take more exercise and watch their weight, say the researchers.

When the authors combined and analyzed the data, they found that each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day cut diabetes risk by 7%.

Compounds in coffee and tea - including magnesium and antioxidants known as lignans or chlorogenic [which have been shown to slow down the release of glucose into the blood after a meal] acids - may be involved.

NBC4, Columbus News Segment

If you don't already know, I'm the local NBC4 news "Health and Nutrition Expert". I got lucky because my friend is the producer of the show ;) For the month of December I was asked to do a segment on "how to maintain your weight over the holidays". Sorry there isn't a clip of my news segment, but if you want to see my last one (about vitamin D) look on the side bar, I added it! Here are some of the points I made:

1) Increase your exercise, even just a little. Add 5-10 minutes to your normal routine, or include some cross training and/or intervals. If you don't workout, start walking around the block after dinner, or lifting small weights to build a bit of muscle and make up for those extra calories inevitably consumed.

2) If you have a party to go to at night, remember it's not good to skip meals during the day (many people do this so they can "enjoy" the party and eat whatever they want). This is a bad idea because your metabolism slows down and you usually end up eating a lot more than you should, because you're so hungry! Just eat normally throughout the day and don't go to the party overly hungry.

3) Plan ahead. Make a goal of a specific number of treats to allow yourself at any holiday party. I like the goal of 2 or less treats, which includes alcoholic beverages. Another treat might be a piece of fudge or 2 small cookies. If you plan ahead, you are more likely to stick to your weight management goals.

4) Modify traditional, higher calorie holiday foods/drinks. Check out the eggnog I made on camera here. It's not me, just the recipe. Leave a fun comment if you feel like it!


I hope everyone has a fun week ahead of them! I have a tiny bit more shopping and a lot more wrapping, plus a lot of actual work to do before Thursday. Nick and I got a lot done this weekend, but I feel like the "to do" list is never ending. Alright, deeeeep Off I go! Pepperoni bread and my new favorite iPhone application coming up on my next post. Everyone, have a great Monday and thanks for reading!


  1. That's an awesome gig! Congrats!

    Interesting facts on caffeine. I have to admit that I was shocked to read the amount you were consuming, but I guess its really not that much compared to the average person.

  2. It has been so hard staying on track this month. Cookies, candy, big meals... Thanks for the tips!

  3. Great post, Gina!!

    I always love the positive effects of coffee and tea!

    Good luck getting everything done this week- I'm right there with you - deep breaths! :)

  4. I couldn't believe how much coffee you used to drink, but I remember having a client who once told me she drank THIRTY cups a day. How insane is that?!? I think it is so cool you are doing those news segments!!

  5. So cool that you are on the news, Gina...loved the vitamin D segment.

    I go back and forth on whether I consume too much caffeine- I guess the threshold is different for everyone. I definitely find that mornings are my best time for concentration, memory and exercise (within a few hours of a triple strength cup of coffee!) I avoid caffeinated coffee after around 2pm or I can't sleep at all...though I can drink tea immediately before bed and be fine. Odd.

  6. I too feel like my to-do list is never ending. I know I cosume to much caffeine because if I don't have enough of it I get headaches.
    The thing is, I'm not a morning person and have trouble sleeping at night so caffeine is a must to get me through my work day :(

  7. Congrats on being the "Health and Nutrition Expert"!!! That's awesome :)

  8. oh this is great to know! Do you know the link to the BBC article? I'd love to see it! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I just finished my course in Chemical dependency and one lady actually did caffeine and the teacher was skeptical, but she could link some serious health concerns to her really high level of it, including infertility. She says once she stopped drinking the sodas she was able to get pregnant. Could be a mix of things, but she does think it was the caffeine. I usually don't go for it unless I need it like I am falling asleep while trying to teach a class.

    I am guessing the latest segment went well. If you can post it, please do, I really want to see. I wish I could get my audio file of my recent radio interview to post, but I can't figure that one out. Have a good Monday.

  10. Great tips about the holidays and weight management. Sounds like you got a pretty cool job working for them.

    Good luck getting everything prepared for the holiday.

  11. mmmm pepperoni bread sounds very a very good wayyyyy :)

    i've recently made the huge switch from coffee to green tea first thing in the morning. but i'm still managing to squeeze that coffee in there somewhere during the day :) i just can't help but love the taste. i need to buy a half/calf after i finish these babies off.

    enjoy your day girl :)

  12. Another great post. I'm so glad to hear the information about caffeine. I've been limiting my intake to two cups each day. I found that mixing regular and decaf was the easiest approach for me, but I haven't eliminated it all together. Maybe I don't need to?

  13. I love coffee and you'll pry it from cold, dead, hands. I eat healthy and am not going to eliminate every little thing that is supposedly bad for me. I only have one big cup in the morning with sugar and cream and it keeps me sane. That being said, I admire the fact that you've cut back. Great job!

  14. I loved seeing the coffee research.

    And great holiday weight management tips!

    Have a great week!

  15. I used to drink A LOT of coffee because I worked at Starbucks so (A) it was free and (B) I had crazy hours! When your job starts a 4:45AM or goes until 1AM and you have school on top of it, caffeine seems like the only option! I've cut back to just a few times a week now.

  16. Thanks for the info! I don't drink coffee, but I enjoy my hot green tea each day.

  17. Ah, I read so much conflicting evidence on caffeine, I really don't know what to believe anymore. I try to stick to moderation, and drink a cup of green tea almost everyday and some coffee every now and then.

    Great holiday tips!

  18. Very cool that you're the health consultant for your local news!! Those are some great tips-- definitely things I need to keep in mind during this time of year :-)

  19. Great post - I love the information on caffeine.

    I only drink tea and I try to only drink one caffinated cup a day - otherwise I have trouble sleeping.

    Thank you for the great holiday tip reminders - I feel like those are things that are all common sense, just hard to remember when tempted by so many goodies!

  20. I think no matter what the research says (because it's often conflicting when it comes to caffeine), the moderation concept is the best thing to apply. :-)

    Congrats on your news segment; it sounds like you gave a lot of really good advice. I'm all for allowing myself special treats that I wouldn't normally eat in the name of the holidays. :-) Have a great day, Gina!

  21. Thank you for the holiday tips...these will def come in handy =)

  22. I really like your tip to add 5-10 minutes to each workout as a way to help combat holiday eating. Sounds very easy and doable, but will make a big difference in the long run.

    Plus in my case, the harder I work out, the less I feel like indulging anyway!

  23. great gig on the segment you will be doing! so many people LOVE to hear tips from professionals, and you are QUITE the profesh :) Congrats!!

    I love modifying recipes as well! I am off to watch your eggnog vid :)

  24. I'm super sensitive to caffiene! one cup of tea is like rocket fuel :S
    most GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) patients react to maltodextrin in large amounts, it's on the 'foods to avoid' list too. We aren't 'allergic' as such, but because our guts are damaged we can't tolerate it.
    it also had coconut oil in it and i'm extremely sensitive to that. it's like a supplement drink because my dietican wanted to supplement GAPS with this drink, but the point of GAPS is to heal the gut so we can actually tolerate drinks like this! i'm still sore and bloated with distention after 4 days so i will not be trying it again until a later date unfortunately!

  25. all i saw was..pepperoni bread!!! hahah jk but that sounds SOOO GOOD!!
    i loved reading this about caffiene-im pretty sensitive to it..when i have it too much AND when i dont have it enough! im def addicted to my one cup of coffee a day
    have fun wrapping up your shopping!

  26. I love coffee! Always glad to hear that my morning jolt is actually beneficial! :)

  27. Thanks for the great info on caffeine. It seems like there is so many controversy behind. It's good to know there are some positives regarding it since I like my coffee once and a while.

    Good luck with the shopping and wrapping. I finished up my shopping and have a bit more wrapping but should be done tonight. Have a great night!

  28. Pepperoni bread?! Oh, I can't wait for that!

    And yay for caffeine! I always get annoyed when people talk about how coffee and caffeine is so "bad" for you...It's not! It's actually beneficial...but in moderate amounts, of course!

  29. Pepperoni bread?!! Sounds interesting girl! Great post as usual. I used to drink alot more coffee but now usually stick to tea - usually decaf or herbal...and hot chocolate!! i'm a sucka!
    Can you have too much tea?!! yikes.
    love your posts :)

  30. I just noticed that you added all of your recipes to the sidebar! I consume WAY too much caffeine due to the high demand of my schedule. I have to wonder if maybe I am fooling myself and I could make do with a little less caffeine and a little more sleep. I tried to cut out my Black Tea and I felt incredibly lethargic.

  31. WOW! Awesome, awesome information on caffeine/coffee and diabetes, which is of course of huge interest to me! I was a coffee addict much more so this time last year than I am currently. I no longer consume more than 1 cup a day -- usually just one, 6-ounce cappuccino. I've also given up ALL diet soda -- only Zevia now. I'm really happy with that change! I was a diet soda fiend before and I feel SOOOOOOO much better now that I'm off the excessive aspartame and caffeine -- I sleep so much better a night. But, knowing what I know now, I won't feel guilty for having another cup or two of joe : )

    Do you drink yours black? I'm trying to get to that point, but I just love my cappuccinos!

  32. ok, let me know the next time you're going to be on the news because i'm home now!! and i want to see you :) that is awesome. & i love the info about makes me feel better about my consumption!! haha


  33. Thanks for the caffeine info! I drink maybe 1 cup 4 to 5 days a week so I'm not thattt addicted haha. I drink much more in winter than summer. Congrats on being on the news! So cool! Can't wait to see this pepperoni bread!

  34. Congrats on the new gig! Very exciting! Thanks for sharing all those tips!

  35. hey Gina, have you ever looked into the connection between caffeine and PMS? I swear, kid you not! (TMI coming, watch out!)
    i was having 4-5 cups of coffee a day, and every month before i got my period for about a week my boobs would get rock hard and HUGE, like baby-on-the-way boobies. well after suffering for a WHILE like that, i went to the doctor, she gave me steriods, which helped.. then one she asked me how much coffee i was drinking, i said 4-5 cups and she flipped.. she said that caffeine can increase breast pain and sensitivity in people, right before their periods.. i had NO clue. fast forward to when i weaned myself off coffee and did not have a drop for almost a year; with no boobie issues to speak of. wow.

    now that i have started drinking one cup a day, im noticing that same pain and sensitivity come back.. im cutting it out again, learned my lesson!!!

  36. Great info lady! Can you equate the mg of caffeine to cups of coffee plz.

    <---worried I drink too much of it

  37. Everything in moderation, right? A little bit of caffeine might do the body good... a lot will not!

    That is SO coold that you're doing the news segment- congratulations!!

  38. Congrats again on your tv spot. I just think that is so awesome!! Great tips too. I think thats a great way of thinking over the holidays. We need to get rid of that "all or nothing" attitude towards treats and just really enjoy them in moderation. Thanks for the fantastic info!
    I enjoyed reading about the caffine studies too. I probably drink waaaay too much caffine. Coffee is my vice. I cannot turn down a fabulous fresh brewed cup of coffee. But Im working on cutting it back a bit. Have a wonderful day!

  39. glad to know my one cup of joe isn't that bad for me!!
    great tips for keep the scale down :) I think they are all realistic tips too - nothing too extreme at all. 5 extra minutes of running adds up too; about .5 a mile which is always great!

  40. Great info.. I drink at least 3 cups of green tea a day. I find the tiny bot of caffeine gets me going (maybe its a placebo thing) anywhoo Im going to stick with it.. seems to work for me!!

    Enjoy your week, Gina AND congrats on the TV gig.. you are rockin it :)

  41. So I'm waaay behind on google reader reading. Baha, I've had this post open for what seems like a week- but then I just looked, you posted this Monday, its only Tuesday night! Crrazy. How slow, time goes by. (Especially when you're busy, and you have blogs to read!)

    I love this post! Haha as a coffee addict (I will admit it!), I often wonder how much I drink in a day? Idk how strong I make my coffee, and it varies how much day to day. I drink a lot of my coffee in the form of espresso too. Hmm.

    Love your holiday tips!

  42. I can't really do caffeine at all because I get pretty much most of the side effects mentioned. I sure wish I could though! I do enjoy tea and the lower caffeine varieties.
    Great tips! Hope you enjoy your holiday!!

  43. Caffeine can make me really shakey. But other times I am just fine. I think it may have to do with whether I have been drinking it regularly or not.

    I love that you are being featured on the news station! That is so exciting! You can make a big difference with your individual clients...but think of all of the people you are reaching on television! Congratulations!

  44. Wow, I'm so excited to read about the effects of tea and coffee on preventing type II DM! SO cool!! Glad to know the copious amounts of tea I consume have another side benifit! :-)

    I'm impressed at your caffeine reduction - I recently went from drinking an entire pot and a half of coffee a night while at work to only drinking 1 cup of coffee a week, on Saturday morning! It was waaaay harder than I thought it would be - I still daydream about coffee! :-) You have my complete admiration for successfully cutting down the caffeine, then, because I know it's soooo hard! :-)

    Your holiday tips are SO awesome - I'm going to pass them on to my friend and family! Thank you!!! I'm SO excited to hear that you're a regular on the news station! Hooray for you, spreading the message about healthful living!!