Habits and Behaviors - Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, some teas, chocolate, some over-the-counter drugs, and cola drinks. Due to the popularity of these products, especially of coffee and cola drinks, caffeine is the most popular drug in the world. It is sometimes used medically, but mostly caffeine is used non-medically for its stimulating effect on mood and behavior. When someone wakes up in the morning and can't get started without a cup of coffee, this is a classic sign of caffeine addiction. People who regularly consume five or more cups of coffee per day develop a tolerance to the drug. An addicted person will suffer headache, irritability, and drowsiness when they do not consume the amount of caffeine to which their body has grown accustomed, due to their physical and psychological dependence on the drug.


Sugar addiction is common among children and adults and is no different, in terms of physical response, than addiction to other substances. Refined white sugar is an ingredient in almost all processed foods found at the supermarket: breakfast cereals, sodas, breads, canned soups, cakes, cookies, ice cream and more. It is in just about everything but raw fruits and vegetables (which contain natural, not refined, sugar). Most people don't think twice about it. But each time the human body consumes sugar it reacts. Insulin (a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood) in the body rises and energy temporarily shoots up. That is why people sometimes eat candy bars when they need a quick lift. But the problem with the rise in energy is the consequent crash. Once the sugar leaves the system, the sugar-eater gets fatigued and craves more. This causes a cycle of dependence that is hard to break. Because refined white sugar is a food (and because it's hard to avoid unless one really makes an effort) most people do not connect health and emotional problems to sugar addiction (for instance, some hyperactive children can return to normal behavior when taken off sugar). In the long run, too much processed sugar can cause cavities, diabetes, and a host of other illnesses.

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