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What happens to your body when you give up coffee for a month?

If any of you grew up watching the American show Gilmore Girls, chances are that you too developed an affinity for coffee like the mother-daughter protagonist duo, so much so that you could even take it in an IV if it were possible.

Experts have varying opinions on coffee and its health benefits – if there even are any. According to Dr Ranga Santhosh Kumar, consultant general physician and diabetologist at Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, caffeine is known to boost metabolism, increase fat burning and reduce appetite, with a daily intake of 100mg estimated to increase energy expenditure by about 100 calories a day.

“Although early studies of coffee suggested that it could lead to health problems, recent research provides strong evidence that drinking coffee actually has a variety of health benefits. The overall evidence has been pretty convincing that coffee has been more healthful than harmful in terms of health outcomes,” he said.

He added that moderate coffee intake — about 2–5 cups a day — is linked to a lower likelihood of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.

According to Dr Somnath Gupta, consultant physician and diabetologist at Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, pregnant women, people with heart disease or high blood pressure, people having sleep disturbances, people having gastroesophageal reflux disease, anxiety issues and sensitivity to caffeine should avoid drinking coffee.

What are the initial effects of leaving coffee for a month?

When you stop consuming coffee for a month, your body may go through a period of adjustment due to the absence of caffeine, said Dr Sanjay Kumar, MD Medicine, Cygnus Laxmi Hospital.

“Initially, you might experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms usually subside after a few days as your body adapts to the lack of caffeine,” he added.

coffee Caffeine can interfere with your sleep quality, and quitting coffee may lead to better sleep patterns and increased overall energy levels. (Source: Pexels)

Stopping coffee consumption for a month might lead to improved sleep quality, reduced dependency on caffeine for energy, and better hydration since coffee can be dehydrating, Dr Gupta explained. Additionally, people might notice changes in their digestion, as coffee can sometimes contribute to stomach discomfort or acid reflux, which might improve after a month without coffee, he said.

What are the health benefits of leaving coffee?

According to all the experts, here are some potential health benefits of giving up coffee for a month.

Improved Sleep: Caffeine can interfere with your sleep quality, and quitting coffee may lead to better sleep patterns and increased overall energy levels.

Reduced Dependence: Over time, some people develop a dependence on caffeine. Quitting coffee can help reduce this dependence and lead to a more balanced energy level throughout the day.

Reduced Acid Intake: Coffee is acidic and can lead to digestive discomfort for some individuals. Quitting coffee may alleviate issues related to acid reflux or indigestion.

Hydration: Replacing coffee with non-caffeinated beverages can contribute to better hydration, which is important for overall health.

Weight Loss: While quitting coffee itself might not directly cause weight loss, eliminating high-calorie coffee additives like sugar and cream can reduce calorie intake, potentially contributing to weight management. However, weight loss is a complex process that also depends on overall diet and physical activity.

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What are the drawbacks of giving up coffee?

The experts we talked to described the following as some of the drawbacks of giving up coffee initially.

Withdrawal Symptoms: The initial withdrawal phase can be challenging, with symptoms like headaches and fatigue.

Reduced Alertness: Caffeine is a stimulant that enhances alertness and concentration. Quitting coffee may result in a temporary decrease in these cognitive effects.

Social and Psychological Factors: For some, coffee is a social ritual or a source of comfort. Quitting might impact these aspects of daily life.

green tea Herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or ginger provide warmth and flavour, without caffeine. (Source: Getty Images/ Thinkstock)

What are some substitutes for coffee?

Here are some substitutes for coffee, as per the experts.

Herbal Teas: Herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or ginger provide warmth and flavour, without caffeine.

Decaffeinated Coffee: If the ritual of having a warm beverage is important, decaf coffee is an option with significantly less caffeine.

Water: Staying hydrated with water is essential for overall health and can also help maintain energy levels.

Fruit or Vegetable Juices: These can provide natural sugars and nutrients for a morning boost.

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Dr Kumar explained that for those who drink coffee, experts suggest brewing it with a paper filter because unfiltered coffee is associated with higher rates of early death, and can contain compounds that raise levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.

“It is advised to not go overboard with added cream or sugar,” he said.

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