Science & The Spirit


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Health Helps Part 14

By Dane and Vicki Griffin


Picture Niagara Falls, in full flow. Think of the enormous quantity of water that flows over the falls every second.

Now imagine collecting all this water for thirty seconds. We’d have a huge amount of water—33 million gallons, to be exact!

This is how much caffeine-containing coffee Americans drink each day. That works out to about 28 gallons per person every year! In fact, so many people use caffeine every day that it has been called “the world’s most widely-used psychoactive1 drug.”

Toxic ingredients

What do we actually put in our bodies when we use coffee or its calamitous cousins—tea, cola, and chocolate? All of these contain methylated xanthines. In other words, toxic chemicals—stuff you wouldn’t give to your dog! Some of the best-known methylated xanthines are theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine.

Borrowed energy

When caffeine enters your body, you feel a burst of energy. Because caffeine contains no nutrients, it draws on the body’s emergency reserves of energy. But, just like a credit card purchase, what is borrowed will come due—with interest.

Here’s what Maxwell House will never tell you: As caffeine enters the system, blood flow to the brain decreases by as much as 30%. Stress and anxiety increase, while fine motor skills—and memory—decrease. What a lift! And that’s not the end of the bad news! Keep using the stuff, and you’ll permanently damage your memory. What’s more, you’ll accumulate a surplus of stress hormones in the brain.2 This can promote long-term depression. People who use caffeine are three times as likely to be stressed about their life situations, and to react in an impulsive way. They are also more likely to experience hostility, anxiety, and fatigue.

Are the perks worth the price?

Want to have a higher risk of cancer? Drinking just one cup of coffee a day will increase your risk for cancer of the stomach, kidneys, lungs, rectum, and esophagus! Two cups a day doubles your risk of cancer of the bladder, and more than triples the chance of colon cancer.

Do you prefer heart trouble? Drink one to five cups a day, and you’ll increase the chance of a heart attack by 60%. Drink six or more cups, and the risk more than triples. Just two cups a day can raise blood pressure by 20%. Caffeine also stresses the pancreas, which can increase your chance for diabetes. It even encourages loss of calcium from the bones.

Don’t drink coffee?

Good! But if you drink colas or other sodas containing caffeine, you’re at risk. A child drinking a 12-ounce soda gets a dose equal to that of an adult drinking four cups of instant coffee!3

Need a lift?

In spite of what all the ads tell us, caffeine does not help a person cope. Instead, it adds to life’s bundle of problems. If you need a “lift,” try a big, sparkling glass of water and a brisk jaunt up a flight of stairs! Many times we’re droopy because we are dehydrated or in need of some exercise.

And if someone you know is addicted to caffeine, here’s the good news: The Lord has the power to deliver us from the strong bondage of harmful habits—and to keep us free!



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1. Having a specific effect on the mind.
2. In particular, cortisol.
3. Based on body weight.