Saturday, March 19, 2016

Caffeine, the Appetite Stimulus

Is caffeine an appetite stimulus or depressant?  The net indicates both ways. Coffee seems to act as a short term hunger pacifier, as does tea. But does this effect last or really make any difference? I have been drinking tea for a long time, as my primary fluid intake. Is this have any effect on hunger? So how would one best do a test? As I may need to get off all caffeine perhaps a cold water comparison. Getting off caffeine may require some effort as I am likely addicted and there may be real chemical effects. Expect headache, says the net.

Comparing tea and water, from a physical theory, cold water will need to be warmed to body temperature, so that alone is 30 calories per liter water advantage. As a retired person, tea drinking fills a good bit of time. Now what am I going to do with that time?

n=1 Start March 17, AM, no more tea. St Patties day. So at the start, I was 10 hours into no tea.

Cold water seems to make the onset of hunger much more severe, aka get hungry faster and a stronger signal.

The caffeine takes over one day to be completely gone from the body, and then there is withdrawal which starts as the caffeine is in decline. What fun even staying off. Half life is 5.4 or 5.7 hours. Caffeine effects the water balance of we humans; therefore, expect either constipation or diarrhea or both at different times or neither. Ah the water balance, how much do we drink, how much passes through, and the remainder is the change onboard. We know that caffeine constricts the capillaries, and is a short term diuretic for some, including myself. Capillary constriction is how it effects blood pressure. Kidney capillary constriction re-uptake reduction is the diuretic effect.  

Also the hunger ended sooner after the breakfast meal. I do not remember the last time I did not have hot tea for breakfast, it would have been coffee in my coffee drinking days. Without either... not in memory, I do recall a few time when I felt that I had insufficient coffee or tea.

A mild headache, caffeine withdrawal, I expect. Lay myself down in the quiet for a few minutes.

Now the space between breakfast and the next meal was 7.5 hours. Hunger came on rapidly and strongly. Water seems to help. Headache is light but annoying.

Headache severe. Next day, headache severe... It is tempting to make some tea to get rid of headache. Hot water will be my substitute for tea. After a late breakfast, the headache is less. Taste of food is more acute. Aftertaste is much stronger, particularly of eggs. Does tea kill aftertaste and taste or just hide it? Now on with my day.

So then along comes this
But caffeine also seems to drive overeating, so which effect is larger? We it seems to depend on who you are so the only way to know is n=1 for a month or so. A few days may not get one clear of caffeine effects and stabilized to something that can last. How could I have missed that caffeine drives overeating all these years? Well, it is not yet proven, but only suggested it seems. This n=1 test may also show this or not.

Day 3, the headache is mild but there. I have cooked breakfast, but am not as hungry as I would normally be. Breakfast is ready to eat and I am not at it, how odd for me. So then without a doubt there is a connection between hunger and tea, likely caffeine in that tea. Only time will tell if there is any real connection.

What do I know anyway? 



  1. During long-overdue cocktail hour w/neighbor last night, he mentioned w/his sleep difficulties, he'll arise at 4 AM when he awakens, have breakfast, then take another "nap" until 8 or 9 (he's a writer, no obligation to punch a timeclock)...
    Unfortunately I must adhere to some semblance of office hours (being The Boss I can & do get away w/some tardiness ;-) - I've been relying on single cup of coffee each morning. From all I've read it seems to be an innocuous addiction - but as you say, what do I know?!?

  2. There again, caffeine has no appreciable effect on my appetite - typically I'm not hungry early on (although here recently, getting back into intermittent fasting habit, occasionally I am!) - the real problem for me has always been mindless snacking in the evening, coupled w/too many social celebrations w/friends & family. And yes, I admit to a badly entrenched fast-food habit throughout my working career (having the surplus funds to waste! I might have eaten a better diet as an impoverished college student, living on ramen noodles & peanut butter ;-)


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