Episode three

00:00:01 Fiona Spence 

Hello and welcome to our podcast series focussing on food, wellbeing and mental health run by NHS Fife Nutrition in clinical dietetics, mental health and learning disability team. My name is Fiona Spence. I'm a registered nutritionist and today I'm joined by GAIL Brown and Jenna Scott. 

00:00:19 Fiona Spence 

Who are both dietitians 

00:00:20 Fiona Spence 

In this episode we will be talking about caffeine. 

00:00:23 Fiona Spence 

But first of all, let's meet GAIL and Jenna. Could you tell us a bit about yourselves? 

00:00:28 Gail Brown 

Hi my name is GAIL. I've been qualified as a dietitian now for over 20 years. I’ve worked in NHS Fife for over 16 years now and I'm a dietitian working with adults who have a learning disability. 

00:00:41 Jenna Scott 

And I'm Jenna and I've worked as a dietitian in Fife for 12 years. I've specialised in renal, surgical and ICU in the hospital setting before moving into the community after having my two children. In the community I’ve worked in diabetes, covering both diabetes and general Dietetic clinics and more recently, I've moved into the mental health and learning disabilities team. 

00:01:02 Fiona Spence 

Thank you for that, that's really helpful. It's good to meet our guests. And so, as we said, today's topic is caffeine. 

00:01:08 Fiona Spence 

There's so many mixed messages around caffeine, and in today's podcast we're going to talk all things caffeine and set the record straight between the myths and the facts. So what is caffeine? Most people have heard of caffeine. 

00:01:22 Fiona Spence 

But what it is and how it impacts our physical and mental health is something that really needs a bit of explanation. 

00:01:30 Gail Brown 

Caffeine is a plant based substance, and it's the most common stimulant used in the world. Stimulants are drugs that can speed up messages between the brain and the body. 

00:01:39 Gail Brown 

They make us feel more awake, alert, confident and energetic. Large doses can over stimulate us, which can result in anxiety, aggression and headaches. 

00:01:50 Gail Brown 

As well as other side effects, so these side effects can have an impact on our mental health. 

00:01:55 Fiona Spence 

Absolutely. I think everybody listening would be able to relate to that. 

00:01:58 Fiona Spence 

I think if even if you think it yourself, and you know if you don't have any mental health issues or you're not on any medication or anything. 

00:02:06 Fiona Spence 

Actually, when you have just a day where you're feeling a little bit tired and you. 

00:02:09 Fiona Spence 

Have a bit more caffeine or you have few too many teas and coffees. It certainly makes me agitated, yeah? 

00:02:15 Gail Brown 

I feel jittery, jittery, you know your heart can race a little bit and just feel a. 

00:02:19 Gail Brown 

Little bit on edge, definitely. 

00:02:20 Fiona Spence 

Yeah so. 

00:02:22 Gail Brown 

And it is like it's the amount of caffeine that we do drink as a nation in the UK. We do drink approximately 95 million cups of coffee a day. 

00:02:30 Gail Brown 

And it is worldwide the most popular drink, so it's pretty significant when you put it in that context. 

00:02:35 Fiona Spence 

I suppose as well things like coffee shops and stuff they have become so popular over the last like 10-15 years. We never used to see things like that. 

00:02:45 Fiona Spence 

Certainly in our country anyway, these things weren't very popular, it was more Americanized, but they've definitely come into play here a lot now. And yeah, there's so many different varieties now that I suppose. 

00:02:56 Fiona Spence 

Even as a popular drink, you wouldn't be thinking about how much caffeine you were taken in, in some of the drinks. 

00:03:02 Fiona Spence 

You know I, I remember having it's like a frappuccino or something like that and it's like a milky it's like almost like a summary milkshakey drink but it's got espresso in it and I had no idea at the time. 

00:03:15 Gail Brown 

It's such a social thing and cultural thing. You maybe meet friends for coffee. You have a meeting in a coffee shop so you can see how. 

00:03:23 Gail Brown 

Amount of caffeine that you would have in a day tops up and adds up without even noticing it. 

00:03:27 Fiona Spence 

Yeah def. 

00:03:28 Gail Brown 

Definitely, so there's sorry. Go on. No, just gotta say there's quite a bit of evidence. 

00:03:33 Gail Brown 

Just about doses. 

00:03:34 Gail Brown 

Kind of over 400 MG have been linked to adverse sleep effects, and you can see then how you'd get in a cycle. 

00:03:42 Gail Brown 

You know you don't sleep well, then you'd have more caffeine the next day to kind of combat that. So it does have an impact on those, specially who are prone to sleep disturbances. 

00:03:52 Gail Brown 

Even if we don't think caffeine impacts on our sleeping, it's still likely to have an impact on the quality of sleep that we're having. 

00:03:59 Gail Brown 

And we really should aim to avoid caffeine 6 to 12 hours before bedtime. 

00:04:03 Fiona Spence 

And I suppose that 6 to 12 hours. I suppose it's important to note that it's because different people have different sensitivities to caffeine. So somebody may be OK, having a cup of coffee before they go to bed, whereas somebody else who's more highly sensitive to caffeine may need to avoid caffeine after lunchtime. 

00:04:21 Gail Brown 

Yeah, everybody processes it differently. Everybody has different levels that they can tolerate, so it does impact us all on us all very differently. 

00:04:30 Fiona Spence 

So I know we're talking about people who have different tolerances, but at the same time, is there a recommendation of how much we should be drinking? 

00:04:39 Jenna Scott 

So recommended intake for an average adult is around 400 milligrammes per day, but for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is suggested that they would consume lower levels, and that's something that GAIL will go into more detail later in the podcast but to give you a bit of an idea of how much we're drinking in the UK, it's around 180 milligrammes per day. 

00:04:59 Jenna Scott 

And the biggest contributor to caffeine intake in the UK is tea, which is something that surprised me a bit. Actually, 'cause I thought you always think of coffee having higher levels of caffeine and but I guess tea is a more popular drink overall. Yeah, exactly. 

00:05:08 Fiona Spence 

Absolutely yeah. 

00:05:13 Fiona Spence 

So we're drinking more of it. 

00:05:16 Jenna Scott 

And I think when you start looking at caffeine contents of lots of different food and drink you, you can be quite surprised by just how much you're taking in over the day without realising. 

00:05:25 Jenna Scott 

So things like your instant coffee would have 100 milligrammes of caffeine. If you were going for a filter coffee, that would be higher at 140. 

00:05:35 Jenna Scott 

And then espresso would be 75 milligrammes of caffeine. But I know myself when you go to the coffee shop, they offer you an extra shot. 

00:05:42 Jenna Scott 

It's very enticing and it's easy to say yes, so you can see how it can build up over the day. 

00:05:48 Jenna Scott 

And then we've got things like energy drinks, which can have anywhere from between 80 to 200 milligrammes of caffeine. 

00:05:55 Jenna Scott 

In a 500 ml can. 

00:05:57 Jenna Scott 

And we know that these are increasing in popularity, particularly in the younger generation. I know myself. You'll see sometimes with schoolchildren at break and lunch time wandering round with a can, so it's just being mindful of how much you're taking over the day. 

00:06:11 Fiona Spence 

I think the size of the cans as well. I was horrified one day I was driving past and I saw a bunch of school kids. 

00:06:17 Fiona Spence 

And the size of these cans of energy drinks? They weren't just the standard you know you get like a 500 ml which reminds me of like an old sort of can of beer, or that kind of large tall can. 

00:06:29 Fiona Spence 

It was it literally looked like not quite double the size of that, but it was significantly bigger than that. 

00:06:35 Fiona Spence 

I thought imagine how much is actually in one of those cans and they can be having several of them a day. I know, and I think. 

00:06:41 Jenna Scott 

I know, and I think just the way they're marketed. They are kind of targeted for the younger generation, but yeah, you're absolutely right Fiona now that it's not necessarily just one can that they're having. 

00:06:51 Jenna Scott 

And obviously, if they're not aware of how much caffeine they're taking and what the effect is to them, like you say, kind of feeling jittery, agitated, and so, yeah it something to be mindful of 

00:07:02 Fiona Spence 

That's a whole other conversation though. Isn't it, energy drinks? 

00:07:04 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, definitely, definitely. And I guess there is other things like foods that contain caffeine as well. So chocolate uhm tiramisu that kind of thing so we can be taking it in without even realising. 

00:07:19 Jenna Scott 

I know myself. I wouldn't think about the caffeine content of chocolate when I'm having it. 

00:07:23 Gail Brown 

Yeah, that's a good point Jenna is we're thinking about food as well and we do have like coffee based foods, like you said, like the tiramisu, and you don't really think about chocolate as well. And chocolate based foods they're made from cocoa beans, which contains caffeine and in chocolate amount of caffeine depends on the quantities of cocoa beans used. 

00:07:46 Gail Brown 

Dark chocolate is like 43 milligrammes. It contains more caffeine than milk 20mg and white chocolate contains no caffeine. 

00:07:56 Fiona Spence 

Which is quite handy, I suppose, because white chocolate always seems to be targeted at younger children, so quite handy if you know if you stick to white chocolate. At least your kids won't be bouncing off the ceiling on caffeine. 

00:08:02 Gail Brown 

Yeah, totally. 

00:08:07 Gail Brown 

Maybe just the energy drinks it had instead. 

00:08:10 Fiona Spence 

Oh, the thought. 

00:08:11 Gail Brown 

And it is just worth noting that in 2018 The UK government banned the sale of the energy drinks to those under the age of 16 due to the concerns that you had mentioned Jenna with the caffeine quantities in them. 

00:08:24 Gail Brown 

And it's not just only the caffeine levels that we're thinking about, it's the high sugar content of these type of drinks. It's so worrying as well. 

00:08:33 Gail Brown 

And if you look at some of the main brand energy drinks, they can have up to 175 milligrammes of caffeine in a 500 ml can, which is equivalent to four shots Espresso and 55 grammes, which is 13 teaspoons of sugar. 

00:08:48 Gail Brown 

Which is shocking, yeah, really shocking. So it's like your caffeine content. Plus like your sugar for obesity, teeth health. 

00:08:57 Gail Brown 

All of that it's really concerning and like you say that are targeted for kind of more the younger generation. 

00:09:04 Jenna Scott 

So I think you can see how it can build up over the day from having different caffeine containing foods and drinks. 

00:09:10 Jenna Scott 

So for example, if you were to have two cups of coffee, that would be 280 milligrammes of caffeine Chuck in another two cups of tea, A can of coke, and you're up over 465 milligrammes. 

00:09:21 Jenna Scott 

And if you remember, we spoke about the recommendation being 400, so you can quite easily go over that recommended daily target. So yeah, it's just being mindful of where your caffeine's coming from. 

00:09:32 Fiona Spence 

That's really helpful, Jenna. I think it's so important to put a bit of context, and when it comes to caffeine so that listeners can actually understand how easily they can go over the sort of daily recommended allowance. 

00:09:45 Fiona Spence 

But talking to recommended allowances, GAIL or Jenna you'd mentioned earlier that there was lower levels of caffeine, talked about for people who are pregnant and breastfeeding. Could you maybe give us some detail about that, GAIL. 

00:09:59 Gail Brown 

Yeah, and it's recommended whilst you're pregnant and breastfeeding. It's 200MG maximum per tick per day, so half the recommended amount, yeah? 

00:10:08 Fiona Spence 

So half 

00:10:10 Gail Brown 

And this is because the caffeine passes via the placenta to the foetus, and there's been evidence to show it's linked to birth defects, premature birth, low birth weight babies, risk miscarriage, and fertility issues. 

00:10:23 Gail Brown 

So you can see why it is really important that you stick to this lower. 

00:10:27 Fiona Spence 

Amount, I suppose it's always just remembering that caffeine is a stimulant. 

00:10:31 Fiona Spence 

It's also a drug 

00:10:31 Gail Brown 

Yeah, and it's addictive. Yeah, yeah totally. Just to be mindful. 

00:10:35 Fiona Spence 

So how does caffeine impact us? How might we know if we're feeling the effects of caffeine? 

00:10:41 Jenna Scott 

So caffeine has a 5 hour half-life, and this basically means that its effects can be felt up to five hours after we've drunk it. 

00:10:51 Jenna Scott 

So if you consume 80 milligrammes of caffeine in five hours time, you will still have 40 in your system. The other half of caffeine you've drunk can hang around much longer for some people though. 

00:11:02 Jenna Scott 

And as we've spoken about earlier, some people are more sensitive to caffeine, so the effects can be felt for hours after they've had a caffeine containing drink. 

00:11:12 Jenna Scott 

And others that might be days later. So usually the effects from caffeine peak within 30 to 60 minutes after drinking, and it's usually within this time that you might feel the jittery effects from caffeine that we've spoken about and it's widely known that anxiety and sleep can be impacted by caffeine consumption. 

00:11:32 Jenna Scott 

Depression, anger and risk taking are also see associated with caffeine intake 

00:11:36 Jenna Scott 

however, in the research carried out these factors are unlikely in those who consume caffeine moderately. So around the 400 milligrammes of caffeine that's recommended daily. 

00:11:48 Gail Brown 

So other ways that caffeine can affect us as it can have an impact on our mood. You often can see people having symptoms of caffeine withdrawal and it can display itself with low mood, poor concentration, tiredness and headaches. Signs are usually seen within 24 or 28 hours of caffeine and withdrawal is usually seen in those who consume caffeine on a regular basis. 

00:12:11 Gail Brown 

Caffeine withdrawal is known from the World Health Organisation and effects mood, fatigue and headaches and difficulty concentrating like we said, people can find feel bad if they're trying to reduce their intake and which then can impact on them trying to reduce it when they're having these side effects. With higher tolerances of caffeine, you need more and more for the same effect. 

00:12:35 Fiona Spence 

And I suppose as well. I mean, although we're saying that people have these terrible side effects when they try to reduce their intake, these are short lived, aren't they? 

00:12:44 Gail Brown 

They are they are and it's just trying to ride them out and then things will get better, but that's when you are feeling tired or in low mood that's really when you would want to go for your coffee or caffeine drink. 

00:12:56 Fiona Spence 

If you’re used to excessive intakes of caffeine and you completely go cold turkey. Maybe actually it's a better suggestion if you're trying to cut back as opposed to stopping caffeine altogether just gradually reduce it. 

00:13:10 Gail Brown 

Yeah, and we'll talk a bit later on. Just there's alternatives that you can have as well. 

00:13:15 Gail Brown 

Like your decaf options as well. Just as an option to try and help when you are cutting back a little bit. 

00:13:22 Jenna Scott 

So we know that caffeine can impact relaxation. Intakes above 1200 milligrammes, so thats three times the recommended amount, are associated with mood disturbances and feelings of anger so it is really worth noting that you should be avoiding excessive intakes of caffeine, because it can really impact us negatively. 

00:13:43 Fiona Spence 

And I suppose if you think 1200 milligrammes when you gave us an example earlier of what 400 milligrammes in a day looks like, or 460 milligrammes would look like, 1200 is a lot of caffeine in a day isn't it. 

00:13:57 Fiona Spence 

So, can caffeine contribute to us becoming more anxious then? 

00:14:01 Gail Brown 

Yeah, there is some evidence to suggest that individuals who drink less than 400 mg can still be at risk of anxiety, particularly those who are generally anxious anyway. I think we've said that different people have different tolerance levels to the caffeine, so it can impact on people differently. 

00:14:19 Gail Brown 

In studies have shown that those who take over 400 milligrammes a day are significantly higher risk of increased anxiety symptoms, and we've mentioned that before, like over the 400 milligrammes have been linked to adverse sleeps effects, especially of those who are more prone to sleep disturbances. 

00:14:38 Gail Brown 

Even if you don't think that caffeine impacts on your sleep, it's still likely to do, and maybe just have more of a bitty sleep or less of a quality of sleep and some people just don't tolerate caffeine and coffee well. It can cause headaches, heart palpitations, anxiety and sleep disturbances like we have mentioned. 

00:14:57 Jenna Scott 

And I think it's also important to highlight that different people metabolise caffeine differently and you can also build up a tolerance as we said. 

00:15:06 Jenna Scott 

So some people would need to consume quite a bit of coffee without getting any of these side effects where others may just have a small amount of caffeine and be feeling really jittery, really anxious, so yeah, it's just being mindful of that too. 

00:15:19 Fiona Spence 

I suppose as well that when you build up this tolerance then it gets easier to go way over the recommended allowance because what you previously had maybe three or four cups of coffee in a typical day maybe your life changed, you feel more tired, you want that energy burst a little bit more and you start to gradually increase it that your normal 4 cups of coffee then becomes 6 cups of coffee. 

00:15:44 Fiona Spence 

And you can see how it would then sneak up. So I suppose things like you know, trying to introduce maybe some herbal tea or some decaf like we're going to talk about later on. It's so important, isn't it? 

00:15:55 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, definitely I know, you know. I think we've spoken throughout the podcast how easy it is for the amounts of caffeine to sneak in. 

00:16:01 Jenna Scott 

And so yes, you know you're definitely right about using other alternatives just to try and reduce your overall intake 

00:16:06 Fiona Spence 

And is there any benefits to drinking caffeine? Because obviously you do get like that, you know you get that wake up feeling in the morning. I certainly do anyway. I need my morning coffee. 

00:16:14 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, yeah. You and me both. 

00:16:16 Fiona Spence 

Yeah absolutely, but is there any benefits to drinking caffeine? 

00:16:20 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, so there is some research supporting the benefits of caffeine. Uh, moderate intake. Again, going back to that, 400 milligrammes per day can improve alertness, cognitive function, Mood and gut function. 

00:16:32 Jenna Scott 

And I know myself that my children don't come near me until I've had my coffee in the morning so absolutely. 

00:16:37 Fiona Spence 

They know better! 

00:16:39 Jenna Scott 

Absolutely, But it can also improve sports performance if it's taken an hour before exercise. It can help with endurance and reduce the perceived effort of exercise. 

00:16:48 Fiona Spence 

And I suppose that it's important to realise as well that these studies are talking about caffeine, not coffee, so it is about you know these. It's usually caffeine supplements, isn't it? If you were talking about athletes. 

00:16:59 Jenna Scott 

Absolutely, Fiona yeah, absolutely. But we do still get some benefits from the caffeine and things like coffee and they can provide a much appreciated energy boost and can improve alertness for many people. 

00:17:09 Gail Brown 

Haha wouldn't like to be around you 2 without your coffee in the morning and work with Yeah so yeah, definitely you two need it. 

00:17:17 Gail Brown 

But yeah, coffee is high in antioxidants and some studies have found that having three to four cups a day might reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and non alcoholic fatty liver disease and the same potential benefit has been seen for decaf coffee as well. 

00:17:35 Fiona Spence 

So, so if caffeine is a stimulant and it can enhance your sport performance, is there any rules around it when it comes to competing in a sport? 

00:17:44 Gail Brown 

So it's previously banned, caffeine, by the Sports Institute, but there have been benefits to sports performance there 30-60 minutes prior to exercise and taking three to four milligrammes per kilogramme body weight, there's benefit seen it is very much individual tolerance and you wouldn't be playing about with amounts or trialling it prior to like a big event. 

00:18:07 Gail Brown 

You would want to know how your body reacts to it prior to competing or before a big event. 

00:18:13 Fiona Spence 

OK, that's really interesting. 

00:18:15 Gail Brown 

It is, yeah. 

00:18:17 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, so I think him it links with lower risk of early death, but you should also consider kind of longer term things like blood pressure. 

00:18:25 Jenna Scott 

So if you do have high blood pressure, the main message would be that moderation is key, so sticking within your recommended daily amounts of 400 milligrammes. 

00:18:34 Jenna Scott 

And coffee also is high in tannins, which can reduce our iron absorption, so if you're having cups of coffee at mealtimes that can prevent you from getting the benefits of an iron containing meal. 

00:18:46 Jenna Scott 

So if you were having something like red meat or green leafy vegetables for the iron benefit, then it's worth considering not having that with coffee. 

00:18:55 Jenna Scott 

We would recommend leaving around an hour gap of having tea or coffee from an iron containing meal. 

00:19:01 Fiona Spence 

I was going to say I think it's important to remember as well that tea has tannins, doesn't it? 

00:19:05 Fiona Spence 

So it's it's our tea and or coffee containing drinks. 

00:19:09 Gail Brown 

Coffee can also irritate the gut. For some people too. Again, people have different tolerance levels to this. 

00:19:16 Gail Brown 

And so people. Most people having three or four cups of brewed or instant coffee a day. 

00:19:21 Gail Brown 

Is within the recommended daily caffeine limit and may offer extra health benefits, but it's the timing that may affect sleep and if you get jittery and anxious from coffee, it may be best to reduce your intake or switch to decaf. There's a lot of people that rely on caffeine for going to the toilet and for bowel movements. 

00:19:41 Gail Brown 

And your digestive system is impacted with caffeine. It can either stimulate it or irritate it. So again, it's very individual. 

00:19:49 Fiona Spence 

This is a really important thing, I think to bring up, especially when people have irritable bowel syndrome or irritable bowel disease may not instantly think. Do you know that these things can have a trigger 

00:20:02 Gail Brown 

Absolutely it's overlooked. Sometimes you focus more on the food stuff rather than like the drinks, and it's remembering that caffeine, like we said, can really irritate your gut and cause problems. 

00:20:10 Fiona Spence 

Absolutely yeah. 

00:20:19 Fiona Spence 

So you have mentioned caffeine in adults and those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. Is there any recommendations specifically for children? 

00:20:26 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, I think that's a really good question Fiona. Children are more sensitive to caffeine than adults, and too much caffeine interferes with calcium absorption, which can obviously impact on their bone health. 

00:20:39 Jenna Scott 

Unfortunately, a lot of caffeine containing foods are aimed at children, so if you think about things like cola. 

00:20:46 Jenna Scott 

Drinks, chocolate, energy drinks and as GAIL touched upon earlier in the podcast, they're also not only high in caffeine, but really high in sugar as well. And there is decaffeinated options that are available and these would definitely be preferential for children. 

00:21:01 Fiona Spence 

I suppose this is really important point to make as well. Do you know that children are more sensitive to caffeine and these sorts of drinks and foods that are aimed at children must have a massive impact on them in their school life? 

00:21:15 Fiona Spence 

Do you know for particularly for younger children, Uhm, who are having cans of coke or things like that? 

00:21:21 Fiona Spence 

That the impact that this would have on their behaviour, their concentration must have a massive impact on them at school and at home. 

00:21:30 Jenna Scott 

You're definitely right, Fiona and I think sometimes it's probably something that would be overlooked if there was issues, and a lot of people wouldn't link it back into the caffeine that the child may be being taking in, but it is definitely worth looking at decaffeinated options so you do get now the decaffeinated fizzy drinks, there's decaf tea options. 

00:21:51 Jenna Scott 

And so yeah, there. There is definitely a place for those to help reduce people overall caffeine intakes, particularly in people that are maybe pregnant, breastfeeding as well as children that we know should be having the lower levels of caffeine. 

00:22:05 Fiona Spence 

And I think when we go into a supermarket, it can probably feel quite overwhelming, because if you're standing in the tea and coffee aisle where everything is available to you in abundance, there is a vast majority of particularly herbal and fruit teas, which look wonderful. There's so many colours and so many different varieties that you could take your pick and try so many different things to find an alternative where you're cutting down on your caffeine intake. But actually, some of the products can probably look a little bit misleading. I know, certainly. 

00:22:38 Fiona Spence 

I was a little bit confused when I was pregnant as to what options would be available to me other than just your standard you know peppermint tea or chamomile tea, which you clearly know would be, or you think that you would clearly know that they're caffeine free. However, things like black tea or red Bush or Chai tea. I suppose it gets a little bit more confusing 'cause I've often had to look on the back of boxes to see. Are these caffeine free? I don't think some of them make a big statement on the front of the box. Caffeine free. I think sometimes you do have to make sure that you read the small print. 

00:23:13 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, and I think the way things are marketed, you're absolutely right. Filling out it can give a different message to. 

00:23:17 Jenna Scott 

Actually, what the product does. 

00:23:20 Jenna Scott 

Teen and so I think you've hit the nail on the head there when you were talking about the fact that you. 

00:23:24 Fiona Spence 

Would look on the back of the packaging because I think the coffee is blatantly obvious. 

00:23:28 Fiona Spence 

You know when you look at jars of coffee, it will say in big bold letters? Decaf it's usually pretty obvious, but when you do come to your alternative teas, and yeah, that these are decaf options. 

00:23:40 Fiona Spence 

Particularly if you are pregnant and breastfeeding and wanting to avoid caffeine altogether. 

00:23:44 Jenna Scott 

Yeah, and I think that is the best way is just checking the label. 

00:23:47 Fiona Spence 

So from what you're saying, too much caffeine isn't good for us, but including some caffeine could be beneficial for some people. 

00:23:55 Gail Brown 

That's right Fiona, I think. 

00:23:56 Gail Brown 

The key we’re trying to get across in this podcast is the aiming for moderation and aiming for moderate levels of caffeine, and it does not appear adversely affect most people mood and has been shown to improve alertness, cognition and concentration. However, it's the higher levels that are associated with increased anxiety and aggression that can impact us negatively, so it's just getting the right levels trying to be mindful that 400mg a day and try not to go over that, and like what Jenna and yourself have just mentioned, seeking their decaf options if your intake is above. 

00:24:33 Fiona Spence 

That, and recognising yourself and the way that it makes you feel, you know. 

00:24:38 Fiona Spence 

Having that awareness of how it makes you feel, you're usually pretty aware of your own emotions, and if you are finding that you're drinking. 

00:24:48 Fiona Spence 

Too much caffeine, or that you know your morning coffee has become a little bit stronger these days. Instead of putting in a teaspoon, we're now putting in a tablespoon of coffee and you become a bit more sensitive to it. And it is making a bit more agitated. Actually, having that awareness. 

00:25:02 Fiona Spence 

And you know, trying to reduce it yourself and realise, I think that is maybe what's upsetting me these days or causing these things that you don't have that higher tolerance. I think I’m more sensitive to it, you know. 

00:25:14 Gail Brown 

I think just being body aware isn't it aware of your body and the impacts it has 

00:25:21 Gail Brown 

It can have that impact on you, and if you are maybe just a bit jittery, or just not quite right, linking it back to the caffeine and thinking could I make some changes. So is it just being aware? And as we've said everybody tolerates caffeine differently and everybody got different levels of tolerance is, and if it is impacting on your sleep, you know then that knocks you off the next day and then you're in that cycle. 

00:25:44 Gail Brown 

Or maybe increasing your caffeine more so it's just maybe taking a bit time out and reflecting on how caffeine is impacting your intake in a day. 

00:25:53 Fiona Spence 

Or if somebody else picks up on it so I don't know. My husband would certainly be telling me if I was a bit more on the crabbit side. 

00:25:59 Gail Brown 

Yeah yeah, and knowing if you can't function without it as well thinking, oh gosh, have I got a bit of a need, yeah, if you can't function without it. 

00:26:07 Fiona Spence 

Yeah just need that second wind. 

00:26:13 Fiona Spence 

If we had three take home messages from today's conversation. What would these three messages be for our listeners? 

00:26:21 Jenna Scott 

So I think caffeine is everywhere. It's associated with lots of social norms and rituals that go along with it for example, morning routines, socialising meeting friends for coffee, and so I think our take home message would be workout your own tolerance so it's not impacting on your health or impacting on your sleep quality. 

00:26:42 Gail Brown 

So working out the right balance for you on an individual basis, I think what we had said before like just being self aware of your body, how the caffeine impacts on it. 

00:26:52 Gail Brown 

So with moderation you can get some of the health benefits. And with overconsumption there could be some health implications. So it's working out the balance, that's right. 

00:27:03 Jenna Scott 

And I think lastly, just be aware of your own levels of caffeine intake where your caffeine's coming from and try where possible to substitute caffeine with decaffeinated products if necessary. 

00:27:16 Fiona Spence 

Thank you, I think that's really interesting. Particularly, I think the three points to take away are, you know, really good ones. 

00:27:23 Fiona Spence 

And like you say you know, one, be aware of your own tolerance and how it makes you feel. 

00:27:28 Fiona Spence 

Two, there are health benefits to caffeine, but like we always say, everything in moderation. Know your limits, and the third one, consider your decaf options and have an awareness of how much is in the food and drink that you have. 

00:27:41 Fiona Spence 

I know that after our conversation today, I'm certainly going to think twice about the amount of caffeine that I have, and you know it does just all add up so easily and I know that my morning coffee is not quite hitting the spot anymore and I have been increasing it slowly so you know, thinking about, you know, adding in a couple of decaf options. 

00:28:00 Fiona Spence 

Getting in the old shops and supermarkets. You look around and see what's there. 'cause there is such a variety, it is best to take advantage, isn't it? Try things out. 

00:28:10 Jenna Scott 

Definitely, I think that's really sensible. Fiona in terms of can. If you've obviously more mindful with your caffeine intake, and you're definitely not alone with that because you can see how easily caffeine can creep up in day-to-day living. 

00:28:21 Fiona Spence 

Thank you so much for joining me today ladies. It's been really lovely to talk to you today and I look forward to welcoming listeners back to the next podcast. Thanks. Take care. 

00:28:31 Jenna Scott 

And thank you for having us. 

00:28:32 Gail Brown 

Thank you very much.