Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An experiment

I never drink caffeinated drinks. It has little to do with perceived LDS doctrine (in case you were wondering), it's that I have always hated soda pop of any type, caffeinated or not. It hurts my stomach and my nose. I have TASTED caffeinated drinks, but never guzzled it like some people. There was one time I remember drinking a soda quickly. It was the middle of summer, deathly hot. We'd been in the car for a long time for some reason. I got a Welch's Grape Soda and drank the whole thing down. I also do not drink soda of any type for health reasons (all that sugar or artificial sweetener), and I don't drink caffeinated because I know I'd get addicted.

There was one time I did have some caffeinated drinks. I get drowsy so easily when I drive, so I was terrified to drive from Houston to Provo. I figured that was as good a time as any to try energy drinks. In one morning, I had a 16-ounce and a 24-ounce Rockstar Juiced Mango. That adds up to 400 mg of caffeine. Your average soda has 40-55 mg. So I pretty much drank the equivalent of 10 Pepsis. I ended up feeling all sick and jittery and had to sleep it off at a park in Colorado for a while. But I didn't fall asleep in the car! I'm not sure if that time counts since it was so much all at once.

OK, wow, I can turn the tiniest statement into a whole slew of paragraphs. What I was trying to get to is this -- last night I got 4.5 hours of sleep. So I'm not really doing so well at this 'staying awake' thing today. So today is the perfect opportunity to try a caffeine experiment. Our drink machine has Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Diet Mountain Dew, and Diet Coke. My first inclination is that the diet drinks are automatically out. Artificial sweeteners, no thanks. But why not? The ingredients in Pepsi/Dr. Pepper aren't too great either. I have tasted Pepsi, and I know I like that. I don't really remember what Dr. Pepper tastes like, but I'm thinking it will be way too sweet. Probably all of them will, since I'm used to drinking water or stuff like almond milk, which is a little bitter. Diet Coke - I have no idea what that tastes like. I think I have a vague idea of what Mountain Dew tastes like, but I'm not sure. The Diet Mountain Dew has the most caffeine, so I am thinking I might go for that. It's either that or Pepsi. I will let you know what happens. I have to sneak over to the vending machine when no one is looking - I am supposed to be the 'health nut' at work, not the caffeine swilling HCFS addict.


Chandelle said...

I've never been addicted to soda but I've gone the rounds with coffee. It's really hard to break the habit. I'm doing okay with it as long as I stick with my one cup a few times a week, but as I've written before, I was drinking quarts of the stuff in college.

If you're not getting enough sleep and then compensating with sugar and caffeine, you'll be jumping on a hamster wheel that is seriously, so hard to quit. Some things are okay in moderation, but I believe that soda fits in the category of "poison in moderation is still poisonous." Soda is so tremendously taxing on every organ system of the body, with or without caffeine.

If you really need a little pick-me-up, you might try yerba mate. It contains caffeine, but also lots of antioxidants and "feel-good" phytochemicals that can calm you down while keeping you energetic but not jittery. I love it in the afternoons if I feel like I need a nap.

Honestly, if it's a choice between the two, coffee would be a better choice than soda. Coffee in restricted moderation, without a huge load of sugar or artificial cream ingredients, is leaps & bounds better than soda, whether it has HFCS, artificial sweeteners, or even real sugar.

I grew up with soda as an occasional treat - I did know people who drank huge containers of soda every day, but that wasn't me, thank goodness. My dad had a real problem with kidney stones when I was a kid, certainly attributable to his Pepsi habit, so that made me aware of the problems of soda before I had any other health awareness. I did enjoy it occasionally, but now I can't touch it. Sometimes I'd get a Dr Pepper at a movie theater, but it became so intensely sweet to me and also made my stomach hurt - plus I'd actually feel hung-over the next morning! It never ceases to amaze me how our tastes can change. I still like micro-brew "real" root beer, though.

Katie said...

I will post the experiment results later, but I'll give this much away -- this was a one-time thing! Never again!! Blech!!!!

I am totally going to bed at 8:30 tonight. I am going to go home, heat some leftovers for dinner, turn off all the lights, have the kids pick out books to read in bed, and take them to bed with me early! This staying up until 2:30 am is absolutely stupid and ridiculous and has to stop!

Chandelle said...

I've been having the same problem - staying up way too late and then suffering for it the next day, always trying to catch up with that sleep deficit and developing bad habits during the day to compensate. Jeremy has been having a hard time with it, too.

So we instituted a "lights-out" moratorium on staying up late (which I'm planning to post about soon). We don't watch movies during the week anymore after the kids go to sleep. After we put the kids in bed (by 7), we turn out all the lights, turn off the computer, light some candles, and do things like handwork or reading. The environment is so relaxing that we always end up going to sleep early. We're getting more time together and a LOT more sleep and feeling much more peaceful and energetic during the day.

If we're tired during the day, I think it means we're not getting enough sleep or something else is going on that needs to be addressed, rather than relying on quick fixes like caffeine or sugar (which are problems for me, too).

Katie said...

In high school, I was SO busy with work, music, clubs, and school work, that I was always up past midnight trying to get it all done, and then up at 5:45 am.

In college, I didn't have to work and had PLENTY of time to get everything done. So what did I do? I chatted with guys on the internet until 10:30 at night and then started my homework. Smaaaart.

When I got married, it was the first time I got enough sleep because I didn't need to chat on the internet any more! Pregnancy and kids affected that of course, but I generally got enough sleep.

Then, 3 years ago, TheEx started his long haul trucking job, and my sleep habits went crazy. When he was gone, I was up until all hours of the night, wasting time, trying to find human interaction, I guess. When he was back, I would go to bed early. Now that he's gone for real, that need for human interaction is much stronger. I keep trying to find it on the internet, but even though I deeply value my internet friends, it's different than actually being in the same room with a living, breathing human.

I now average 5-6 hours of sleep per night and it is NOT sufficient by a long shot!