The most commonly used drug in North America is caffeine. Eighty per cent of North Americans consume it daily. Coffee drinkers usually start out with one or two cups a day, but over time it isn’t unusual for the habit to increase to between five and 10 or more cups daily. The morning coffee becomes more than a ritual: it’s a "caffeine fix" needed by the body to rebalance the blood that is out of balance because of the previous day’s caffeine intake.

The major addictive substance in coffee is caffeine, a white crystalline alkaloid that stimulates the brain and artificially and chemically lessens fatigue. Injected into human muscles, caffeine will cause paralysis, while 10 grams of caffeine accumulated suddenly in a human body would result in death. Fortunately, coffee ingested in the common manner of a single cup at a time is not fatal because the kidneys work overtime to eliminate this toxin and prevent accumulation. However, continuous use of caffeine devitalizes the body to the point that the body cannot function without it. The adrenal glands become so overstimulated that it takes a high level of caffeine just to feel normal. Thus a vicious cycle is created. The very thing that creates the problem becomes the "cure" and perpetuates the problem.

While not causing paralysis or death, small doses of caffeine do cause bad things to happen within the body. For instance, caffeine causes stomach temperature to rise 10-15 F, making the stomach more acidic, and years of over-acidity can lead to stomach ulcers. Caffeine causes the heart to beat faster, the lungs to work harder and the blood vessels leading to the brain to narrow, while increasing the body’s metabolic rate. Studies show that caffeine consumption is related to increased bladder and stomach cancers, elevated blood pressure, aggravated diabetes and damaged stomach lining. Reports indicate that caffeine may be linked to male infertility as well as birth defects, and can even be passed through mother’s milk into the nursing child.

Kurt W. Donsbach, PhD, DSc, ND, DC, once said: "Would you agree that everything you put into your body should be for the benefit and use of the body? Coffee does not fall in such a category. It has no positive function. It furnishes no vitamins, minerals, enzymes or protein in the diet, but does create many problems that cause the body to expend much energy to overcome. Coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate all contain caffeine. There are many herb teas and coffee substitutes that can be consumed to benefit the body. The elimination of caffeine-containing substances from your diet can be one of the most important health decisions you ever make."

Caffeine Counter
Here is a partial list of some commonly consumed products that contain caffeine. The amount of caffeine is in milligrams (mg) per seven-ounce cup of coffee or 12-ounce can of soda:

Drip coffee  115–117
Brewed coffee  80–135
Instant coffee  65–100
Decaf coffee  2–4
Tea, iced  70
Mountain Dew  55
Coca Cola  45
Dr Pepper  39
Pepsi Cola  37
Chocolate bar  30
Stay-awake pill       100
Cold tablet  30–200
Diet pills  100
Excedrin  65
Midol  32

About the Author

George Malkmus is the founder and director of Hallelujah Acres. For additional information, call Hallelujah Acres Canada at 519-935-9999. E-mail: canada@hacres.com