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Quitting Caffeine (enki.org)
257 points by mcculley on Aug 14, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 344 comments

I've been off Caffeine for a good two years now and have no plans of going back.

Life runs too fast for me on caffeine, yes I can blow through work faster, but when I was on caffeine it would feel like days, weeks, months would go by in the blink of an eye.

I wasn't enjoying the moment.. and then I stopped drinking caffeine.

Life became more present for me, not slower in the bad sense, but that I was able to relish every moment more, more aware... more conscious of what was going on around me. My fuse also got really short when I was consuming caffeine, I'd get into a lot of fights and arguments, since I've stopped, it's really helped.

I still get all my work done and have time to spare, I'm working, going to school and have an infant at home. So life after caffeine is definitely possible.

Hm..reading this makes me wonder ... I noticed that life is running extremely fast lately and I am having a hard time being "in the moment" ... and I drink a lot of coffee. I really enjoy everything about coffee from roasting to brewing though, so it would probably be quite hard giving it up. Anyway, thanks for sharing this, I will take a long look at that.

I noticed that life is running extremely fast lately and I am having a hard time being "in the moment" ... and I drink a lot of coffee.

I drink a lot of coffee. I'm a very in the moment person, meditate regularly, enjoy and live in the moment, etc.

This is an approach to life thing that is quite orthogonal to whether you drink coffee or not.

Being in the moment has a lot to do with getting enough sleep. Caffeine is generally bad for peoples sleep quality and quantity, but there is also a lot of variability in this.

I totally agree. The most "in the moment" person I've ever known ran a non-profit coffee shop and drank coffee every weekday. I drink one cup of coffee three or four times a week and I feel like it boosts my awareness rather than takes away from it.

I was saying that it worked for me to stop. Not that you should all stop drinking coffee. If it helps you then why stop. I was just sharing how stopping helped me and that if you want to you can. Nor was I promoting a quick fix. It's not a quick fix and was initially quite a difficult experience for me.

And I disagree that they're orthogonal. There's definitely some correlation between what you consume and your state of mind and awareness. (Don't believe me? Eat a handful of chillies) It is why the Buddhist monks live such a moderate lifestyle, would recommend chefs table episode 1 of the latest season.

"I was saying that it worked for me to stop."

Great. I was replying to someone else who took your statement to mean that stopping coffee == enlightenment.

I'm not looking for an argument, but far too often on here people look for, or push, an easy fix for larger problems. "I started working at a standing desk and now I'm a 10x programmer", "I stopped watching TV and now I'm a great artist", etc. But in reality the causation was "I realized I needed to make change, and for now at least things are different but here's some proxy symbolic thing". I realized that I needed to live healthier, and in doing so wore gym shorts more often, so gym shorts make you healthier.

Regarding the Buddhist monks, be wary clutching onto something they did given the mysticism, but it's notable that monks drink tea (and, in many cases, coffee), and their precepts are against intoxicants like alcohol. And some of the things they avoided were things like onions and garlic, which were believed to make them aroused.

Regardless of your anecdotal evidence, caffeine as a drug does cause people to focus. This comes at the expense of noticing what happens in the background

Mindfulness is actually selective focus, so if caffeine helped it then it supports my "anecdote". Caffeine doesn't make life move quicker, it doesn't stop you from enjoying the moment, etc.

In conversations like these too often people promote a quick fix type of thing. "I stopped {X} and gained {Y}!", when really there was no causative relationship, and {X} was just a one of many lifestyle changes.

> too often people promote a quick fix type of thing

Though, to be fair, caffeine is a very strong stimulant. So likely, when you stop using it, things will change for you.

I do a coffee fast (for months) every so often. I suggest you try it, we can share more anecdotes when you're on the other side.

I think self-awareness plays a very strong role here. If you're addicted to caffeine, as many are, you know how it makes you feel. Some choose to ignore the effects, others also choose to ignore them...

Likely addiction to anything, if broken for a time, will yield results that one can measure against.

And yes, stopping addiction is a quick fix.

> really enjoy everything about coffee from roasting to brewing

You roast your own beans at home ? How expensive of a setup does that require ?

Sorry I meant this more in terms of "learning about every aspect of coffee" .. I did roast my own beans in the past. More out of curiosity, though. All you need to try/start is a cast iron pan and green beans .. but I would recommend reading a book about the roasting process or doing a comprehensive barista course that includes roasting, first.

It's possible to do this with just your home oven, green beans, a tray and a timer.

A cheap (<$100) step up from that is a hot air popcorn popper, and the sky is the limit. Check out http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/12/why-you-shouldnt-roast... for a quick overview of what you're getting into and some recommended further reading. TL;DR it's not really worth it but can be a fun hobby which can yield good results with practice.

Popcorn machine is another popular option.

You'd need some serious ventilation. I also recommend starting with a popcorn popper outside.

> You'd need some serious ventilation.

I think this part hasn't been written of enough. How much smoke does coffee roasting create? Is it almost like a barbecue?

Yeah, the smoke is considerable, and smells delicious. Definitely an outdoor activity (or be near an open window w/ a fan).

Yikes. I was quite close to purchasing and roasting some green beans in a not-very-well-ventilated cooking area. Thanks for the heads up!

I still drink decaf occasionally, but only around half a cup.. at most once a week. So you can have some of the ceremony of it if you want. You can also switch to an herbal tea. I do enjoy the smell of it and I miss brewing it in the morning, but the toll on my lifestyle just wasn't worth it for me.

Making a drink doesn't sound like it would be something inherently enjoyable. Perhaps you believe it is because of the boost you get when you drink it. Would making it for others be enjoyable in the same way?

When you next make a cup, try to tease out exactly what it is that you enjoy about making it. What is it about that experience that makes it enjoyable?

Making a drink doesn't sound like it would be something inherently enjoyable

Why not? Lots of people enjoy making food, even food they're not going to eat. Why would making a drink be that different?

The smell, the taste, the ceremony of habit. I enjoy these more than the caffeine. I would probably drink more, if the caffeine effect were less.

See: tea ceremony, Japanese.

Ritual itself can be very satisfying. I've taken apart also in Ethiopian coffee making, which is an awesome process. Beans get roasted on the spot and then brewed into coffee, and everyone gets there small cups of the brew, in decreasing concentration. It's a precise ritual, and at the same time very social. It's great!

Brewing is a fun hobby, takes a long time for any result, but one can get geeky in the details.

Did you quit caffeine by chance or did you start making a conscious effort to live more in the moment and quitting caffeine was part of that?

Honestly I was getting into a lot of fights with my wife (then girlfriend) and I was trying to figure out the cause. I was taking 20 units of upper div math at Berkeley and coffee is just part of the culture (see Erdos). I was more of a green tea or Yerba guy, but I eventually pinpointed it to the caffeine. It saved our relationship, and lucky for me too.. she's one of the good ones.

Caffeine urges me to jump on my impulse and react fast which is not good for a relationship (especially a young relationship) where a little tolerance goes a long way..

So you didn't start meditation or something at the same moment?

I was doing a little yoga and pranayama, but that's about it. But I had been doing that for about a year before I quit. So nothing really changed in that regard..

I also started and stopped coffee a couple times before really quitting and the anger/irritability came right back like clockwork every time I started drinking again..

Yeah, for me caffeine is now a "special occasion" thing, and my life is much better for it. If I'm very low on sleep, or running a long race, I might have small amount, but never more than two days in a row, and I'll go weeks without it. Everybody's different, but I'm unlikely to go back.

I would love to see a study on coffee consumption's effect on time perception. Maybe it's a widespread phenomenon.

......how many cups a day were you drinking?

Just one in the morning.

Out of interest, did you only stop drinking caffeine or was it potentially part of a larger set of changes (mindset/dietary/behavioural/etc) made at a similar time?

Nothing changed for me but the caffeine. I did go through about a weeklong withdrawal where I could barely get out of my bed though.. it was tough I did feel I was half dead for a good week, but after that your body adjusts, and dare I say I'm more productive and focused now than when I was on caffeine.

I don't see myself ever quitting... I only go to work for the coffee.

What the author didn't mention, and I haven't seen mentioned in these comments, are the extremely beneficial health effects of coffee (not caffeine, decaf has shown the same benefits). Most significantly, studies have shown that coffee reduces overall mortality rates significantly, with the reduced chance of dying from any cause increasing with coffee consumption (up to a point).

>Compared with nonconsumers, participants in the highest quartile of coffee consumption had statistically significantly lower all-cause mortality (men: HR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.82 to 0.95]; P for trend < 0.001; women: HR, 0.93 [CI, 0.87 to 0.98]; P for trend = 0.009). Inverse associations were also observed for digestive disease mortality for men (HR, 0.41 [CI, 0.32 to 0.54]; P for trend < 0.001) and women (HR, 0.60 [CI, 0.46 to 0.78]; P for trend < 0.001). Among women, there was a statistically significant inverse association of coffee drinking with circulatory disease mortality (HR, 0.78 [CI, 0.68 to 0.90]; P for trend < 0.001) and cerebrovascular disease mortality (HR, 0.70 [CI, 0.55 to 0.90]; P for trend = 0.002) and a positive association with ovarian cancer mortality (HR, 1.31 [CI, 1.07 to 1.61]; P for trend = 0.015). In the EPIC Biomarkers subcohort, higher coffee consumption was associated with lower serum alkaline phosphatase; alanine aminotransferase; aspartate aminotransferase; γ-glutamyltransferase; and, in women, C-reactive protein, lipoprotein(a), and glycated hemoglobin levels.


In addition, according to other studies, coffee prevents and/or reverses liver damage due to alcohol consumption. One study suggested an extremely significant (44%) reduction in occurrences of cirrhosis among those who drink 2 cups of coffee a day.


When considering whether or not to give up your morning coffee, consider the good with the bad.

I have read these studies and often wonder if it is not the coffee itself, but rather what you aren't doing when you are drinking coffee.

For example, coffee suppresses the appetite so maybe you snack less and that is driving the difference in the two study groups. Or people on the non-coffee drinking group have Coke-Cola instead.

I feel very badly for my Grandparents, who were told not to drink coffee because it was "bad" for them. They all stopped drinking coffee in the early 90s and subsequently put on a ton of weight and then suffered all the related health problems (diabetes, heart failure).

I often wonder if they stuck with coffee instead of giving it up would they have been in better health.

I wonder if some of this is due to a subtle intervening variable like conscious or subconscious (i.e. fidgeting) decisions to exercise more accumulated over time because of increased energy, rather than caffeine per se.

In epidemiological studies we refer to these variables as confoundimg variables. There's another term as well that I can't seem to remember.

When you try and correlate one specific variable, like coffee, to trends like mortality, you must control for every other variable. Socioeconomic factors like income generally cause confounding of your results.

For example, there was a recent paper that showed that women with gum disease were at higher risk for certain cancers. Is it a wide stretch to believe that people with gum disease may be of lower socioeconomic status, and also probably not take care of their diets and health anyways?

Can someone link the PDF? My login for the acp journal article the parent linked to describing the health correlations won't work for some reason. I want to see how they controlled for some of these factors.

Edit: I found the full PDF through my institution. They note that their study may contain confounds, and note possible ones that they tried to control for. The paper isn't perfect, but I applaud the authors for being as thorough as they could. That being said, this sort of article is bound to go viral as soon as possible, with many misleading headlines.

> epidemiological studies

Tough field... How do you survive with the overwhelming stigma of doubt connected to it?

I'm not involved in any epidemiological studies, simply a medical student :).

But that being said, I think a lot of the stigma comes from researchers using biased data, or acting unethically with their data. Good epidemiological studies exist that have improved the health of the general public.

As a guide for new readers of public health research, here are my suggestions:

1. Read the abstract. Think about the claims that are being made. For example, if someone tells me that drinking 2 cups of coffee a day leads to a lower risk of cancer, my first thought is: what kinds of things do people drinking 2 cups of coffee a day do that would lower their risk of cancer? Could they have a different diet? Do they make more money, leading to them being able to afford preventative health? Do coffee drinkers just have more awareness about their health? Do their regular schedules and sleep cycles give them a health advantage? Keep these questions in mind when reading the rest of the paper. See if the researchers tried to control for these easy alternative explanations.

2. Get a fundamental understanding of some of the statistical terms and calculations used, and make sure you are not misinterpreting them. Thinks like odds ratio, attributable risk, relative risk, etc. Each of them means something specific, and should not be used for extrapolation. Google is your friend!

3. Read the paper as completely as you can!

4. Especially look at the discussion section for maybe reasons that their data isn't great, or also discussing alternative explanations. Also look at their appendix for their exclusion criteria. This can be a clue towards whether or not a researcher is being genuine about their dataset or data collection. In the ACP article about coffee drinkers, there were quite a few exclusions made, and the population they pulled data from seemed biased (women who went to mammogram screenings might care a bit more about their health than the average person)

That's all I have for now. I'd welcome any actual researcher to provide feedback and suggestions!

If that were true, decaf wouldn't show the same effect because it wouldn't give you increased energy. (I don't drink decaf)

Well decaf does contain caffeine, just less of it.

Typically less than a twentieth of it with most modern caffeine methods.

I'm the original author. I did mention that there may be health benefits to caffeine. You make a good point that it may be coffee and not caffeine that people find beneficial. Nevertheless, as I mentioned in the post, I'm skeptical of reports of the benefits of consuming something as most such reports come from entities trying to sell you something or people who want to rationalize their own consumption. I'll try to update the post later to clarify.

> I'm skeptical of reports of the benefits of consuming something as most such reports

You should be skeptical. But skepticism shouldn't drive you to claim something like "most reports".

I'm not sure what you mean. I never said "most reports" other than saying "most such reports" have implicit bias. Would you dispute that? Most articles I come across about the health benefits of coffee/caffeine seem to just be reporting the same popular science tropes without any scholarly backing.

For a more complete list of all the health benefits of coffee, and separately of caffeine:


Coffee is full of antioxidants

That is one of my pet peeves. There is no proof that antioxidants are good for humans. Years ago I read an article by a researcher that traced the origin of the idea to... nowhere. There was never any research that indicated they are good for us. It's one of those things that was injected into a news cycle and was picked up and repeated over and over again.

I can't speak to antioxidants specifically, but this is a pet peeve of mine as well.

My girlfriend can attest to my going on tirades when a miscellaneous holistic "health expert" shows up on morning talk shows to inform daytime tv viewers that if they put an onion under their bed and only eat foods that don't contain the colour white that they'll reduce the "toxins" in their house and their body. (fictional example) Those mysterious boogeyman toxins... gotta reduce those toxins. Oh and you're selling a supplement that will take care of all of that for me so that I don't have to walk my pocketful of okra around the block three times before soaking it in a bath of cold milk I must change every day if I want to stay healthy.

I'll stop now, but I could go on...

Coffee industry is huge, so it's not hard to imagine that at least some of the research is fake. Also, I'm not aware of any research that explains WHY coffee has the supposed health benefits.

I like it and it doesn't seem to cause cancer, so it has those two things going for it.

Not so fast, if you're under 55 years old and drink more than 4 cups a day then this study found that it is pretty bad for you.

>A study of more than 40,000 individuals found a statistically significant 21% increased mortality in those drinking more than 28 cups of coffee a week and death from all causes, with a greater than 50% increased mortality risk in both men and women younger than 55 years of age.


Where there're sponsors there're studies. Don't trust those. Not saying that they're scientifcly wrong, but similar studies have been made for red wine and dark chocolate. Also, there was / is the green tea trend. You need to take all effects of a substance into account when judging the health benefits.

If you want to do something good for your health, drink herbal tea. But why do most of the people prefer coffee or green / black tea? Or drink red wine or eat lots of dark chocolate. Because those are stimulants.

Woah woah woah. Did I miss the bandwagon for hating green / black tea? How are those bad? Is it just the caffiene?

45mg for black tea and 25mg for green tea

And they are physically addicting

Regardless. My morning coffee may not make my life longer but it makes it more enjoyable.

One of the more interesting comments in the article is in regards to the social stigma of only consuming water during meals - people who have quit alcohol for various reasons have faced the same stigma when going out with friends.

I've found that ordering something that has little to no calories or substance goes a long way to alleviate these fears (like tonic or sparkling water).

Because something like this still costs money, it helps convince the purchaser that they aren't appearing to be "cheap" by only ordering water. Topo Chico (a sparkling water similar to San Pellegrino) is a favorite among recovering alcoholics in my area.

Pro tip: Club soda with a lime looks just like a vodka soda.

Works great when you're trying to keep a clear head at a party full of heavy drinkers too. Just make sure to take slow sips so that people don't catch you with an empty glass.

Club soda with anything, syrups, bitters, citrus, is the secret for a happier sober life. not to mention is usually free in bars. (bitters are technically alcoholic, so that is a personal choice)

soda + bitters is super tasty. if you're in a fancy cocktail bar (which I'm not that often these days, because drunk people are annoying when you're sober), most good bartenders will be happy to concoct "something tasty" and non-alcoholic, too.

Will seriously give this a shot! Thanks for the tip.

Ginger beer (as in fancy ginger ale) + lime juice + bitters, well-iced, is quite tasty. It's a Moscow mule without the vodka. You can mess with adding tonic water if you miss the vodka taste. A splash of Luxardo syrup, cherry juice, blueberry purée, of any number of other little flourishes (lychee is notably great, tumeric is interesting) can make it extra special. I drink occasionally but I also enjoy these NA concoctions. It helps that I don't have friends who make it weird for anyone to not drink alcohol when we're out or at parties.

Bitters (e.g. Angostura) is typically alcoholic though isn't it?

I want the bitters so that I don't feel like I am cheating too much, now.

So is mouthwash but I doubt you put enough in to trip the drink past .1% ABV.

But this could be of importance for people stopping alcohol due to liver disease. But otherwise should not matter at all indeed!

I see what you did there. :)

Something similar has helped me in not drinking pop/soda. I just get soda water and add lemons/limes. It has the flavor and fizziness of Sprite, just not the sweetness. And it's pretty widely available.

Best thing I did to quit soda the first time sround was get the True Lemon powder (it is crystallized lemon) and just drink that at water. I always found I would never use actual lemon before it became rotten, but that stuff is super useful.

I quit alcohol a few years ago. I wasn't an alcoholic or anything of the sort --- I just decided to stop.

For social things along the lines of house parties, I'll bring my own cup. I bought a set of vintage tupperware cups, and, to my surprise, they're always a hit. Its silly, but it helps. I don't make a show of drinking water, and most people assume the cup is filled with beer. When people do ask what I'm drinking, and I tell them that its just water, my assumption is that their assumption is that I was / am an alcoholic... sometimes I let it slide, other times I will clarify.

Over these past few years I've moved away from everything but one cup of coffee per day, and about 2 - 3 litres of water.

Regarding the stigma, it may be a regional thing (Vancouver), but most people don't care about what I order at a restaurant or drink at a social function. The strangest look I'll get is when I order room temperature tap water... but that's understandable :)

Since moving away from everything else, I've found that I rarely crave sugar --- and when I do, everything is far too sweet for me. I used to have a notorious sweet-tooth, but moving away has cured me of that. I also can't handle fizzy things anymore, which was also surprising.

> Regarding the stigma, it may be a regional thing (Vancouver), but most people don't care about what I order at a restaurant or drink at a social function. The strangest look I'll get is when I order room temperature tap water... but that's understandable :)

I think you might be right about that (Victorian here). No one ever cared what I was drinking in Victoria. Now that I'm in Europe it seems like people drink soda, beer or wine with every meal, even at home and they get weird when I ask for water. Like, they'll try to push soda or beer on me to the point where it gets uncomfortable if I say no. I'm still trying to figure a way to navigate around this, even as I slowly become acclimatized to drinking way more sugar and alcohol than I'm happy with.

Where you are, is the tap water any good? I often wonder if that is a major contributing factor.

Possibly. I wouldn't drink tap water where I live because its not nice (but other people do...) I do drink a lot of non-sparkling water though, even in Restaurants and I'm in Europe. Not all places will even give you tap water, sometimes you have to buy bottled water (which I often do anyway if I don't think the tap water tastes nice..)

It's weird water. It's very hard and there's a lot of copper in it. You get buildup on bathroom fixtures and it looks gross. When I first tried it I didn't like it... but I got used to it after like a month and now it just tastes like water. Doesn't everyone get used to it eventually?

The build up would be such a hassle. I've been to a few cities around the US where people go through bottled water like crazy. Delicious, balanced tap water is such a luxury. :)

Just a heads up that most tonic water is actually loaded with sugar and calories--nearly as much as soda!

I was pretty surprised when I'd realized this--G&T's had been my go-to "low-cal" cocktail for quite a while.

Ordering a club soda w/ lemon or lime however is a great move when avoiding alcohol in a social setting.

Avoiding alcohol is easy as long as no one pushes you to drink every five minutes when you obviously want to only drinking water. Drinking culture is extremely annoying.

I'm not sure if you meant to imply the contrary, but club soda isn't the same as tonic water--club soda doesn't have sugar added. So if you're yet to find a replacement for your gin and tonics, you could try out vodka sodas :)

You don't actually drink your decoy drink. You just hold it and maybe sip a tiny bit to make it look like you're drinking so people leave you alone.

A friend of mine adds salt to his glass of wine, to ensure that his decoy drink lasts a very long time.

> One of the more interesting comments in the article is in regards to the social stigma of only consuming water during meals - people who have quit alcohol for various reasons have faced the same stigma when going out with friends.

That stigma is entirely self-perception. No one cares or even notices what anyone else drinking.

This is definitely false. I've had multiple women tell me the dominant thing they noticed on a first date was that I didn't order a drink. Likewise, many people can attest that the social encouragement to get everyone drinking in group situations is very explicit. Shared consumption of intoxicating substances is closely monitored by everyone in the group, and is not same thing as the true fact that no one cares whether you have a brown or black belt.

I overheard one of my male co-workers telling a female co-worker that he doesn't drink. Her reaction was a literal "eww".

That's when I learned that - much like smokers - drinkers were a tribe.

Were? Smoking isn't very cool anymore, but drinking is still pretty cool. It's losing popularity in some circles, but in pop culture, rappers are still in the club ordering bottles, and not of Voss. Weed has a big chance to shake up the alcohol industry, because you can smoke like a Cummins 12-valve until you pass out, then feel fine the next morning. You also don't die if you have too much to smoke. It does have to do some work to get out of the goofy / high schooler / college bro image, but I think they can make it classy (esp stuff like vape pens...the whole blow torch + dabber + water pipe thing has pretty limited appeal because it's too involved and conspicuous).

Coming soon to a state near you.

I am suspicious that smoking pot is just as bad for your lungs as smoking tobacco and we simply don't have decades of evidence yet. It stands to reason that inhaling burnt organics is going to have many of the same effects regardless of which plant is involved.

That's likely true, although with legalization has come the popularity of - and even preference to - vape pens and edibles, which weren't as accessible.

make it classy (esp stuff like vape pens

I don't know. It feels like vape pens is one of the least classy things going on at the moment. I think the only thing that can make "weed" acceptable and "classy" is some variation on fancy edibles (or perhaps drinkables to bring the discussion full circle)

Not only that, some people leap to the conclusion that you don't drink because you're an alcoholic, and from there to the judgement that you're unreliable and untrustworthy. (Not that being an alcoholic makes you those things - but that's their perception learned from our culture.)

Another unhealthy thing about drinking culture is how it stigmatises teetotallers as some moralising oppressers (thanks Prohibition), when they might just not want to feel like shit in the morning.

There are plenty of reasons not to drink, though.

Maybe you're driving. Maybe you're on medication. Maybe if you're a woman you're trying to get pregnant (or already are).

Either this "if you don't drink you must be an alcoholic" thing is entirely American or lots of people on HN hang around with the wrong crowd.

EDIT: Also being "on call" is a good reason not to drink. Though if you need an excuse every time you go out with your friends, you deserve better friends.

Could be. The San Francisco drinking culture is pretty aggressive, but then again, so is NYC's, Lisbon's, Sydney's, or Shanghai's.

I'm in rural Germany. For 20-somethings it's perfectly normal to have designated drivers who don't drink, no questions asked. If you're a woman, most people will suspect you're pregnant but it's too early to be socially acceptable to ask you about it.

Transportation plays a larger role in determining "tolerance" for how socially acceptable that is. Urban environments, with their preponderance of cars for hire reduces the need for designated drivers.

I live in a suburban area in the U.S. and what you report is similar to what I've experienced, too.

It could also be that my social circle is older, and many of us are parents, so it's not as convenient to go out for a hard night's drinking.

Yeah, with friends who are parents the designated driver of the two also usually is the one who has to take care of the kid (especially when it's a very young kid).

But even when I'm out in town non-drinkers aren't bullied into drinking. If it's a party and they're not drinking (especially if they're men and thus pregnancy is off the table) someone will likely push them on it because it's uncommon but no more than vegetarians or anyone else with dietary restrictions.

However in that case "I don't drink because I don't like being drunk" or "I don't drink because I don't take it well" is a perfectly acceptable answer. Then again, a lot of the people I'm talking about are goths so straight edge / clean living isn't too uncommon.

> Shared consumption of intoxicating substances is closely monitored by everyone in the group

Get better friends.

Once upon a first date, I ordered a Manhattan and finished it, she ordered a wine and took 3 sips of it... I knew it wasn't going to work lol

that said, some women become terrible (in more bad ways than good) when they get tipsy... including my current

sometimes i drink; sometimes i don't. when i don't, somebody will notice and comment about 90% of the time.

Unless, that is, you're dining out. I do drink occasional alcoholic beverages but the last time I was out to dinner with my family and the waitress asked if we'd be interested in drinks and I declined while asking for an additional water, she gave me a not-quite-concealed eye roll. The message was loud and clear: she wasn't going to make much off my table. I can hardly blame her. Tips are how waitstaff make money, and if you order drinks the check is going to be a lot bigger.

This is also why some people say weird things like you're "cheap" if you don't order drinks (especially if you are paying).

This isn't true. People frequently notice that I'm not drinking and comment on it.

> No one cares or even notices what anyone else drinking.

Some care, but that's usually easy for me to get away from. They usually notice, and they usually go through the standard comments on it.

The non-alcoholic "evening out" drinks market is actually one of the fastest growing at the moment. Even to the extent that Diageo's investment arm recently ran a competition to find the best up and coming non-alc drinks.

> One of the more interesting comments in the article is in regards to the social stigma of only consuming water during meals

Wow this is insane. The culture I grew up in is famously health-friendly, so I've never come across this, but it sounds horrible.

I started drinking only water around high school, and the only reaction I ever got was "good for you, I wish I had that habit".

> Because something like this still costs money, it helps convince the purchaser that they aren't appearing to be "cheap" by only ordering water.

Interesting, you think that appearing cheap is behind the stigma? I would've guessed it would be something along the lines of anticipated reproach.

Ya, I think it's more that people assume that if you choose not to drink, you look down on people who do drink, and especially in one-on-one settings that makes them feel uncomfortable drinking around you

Ah yes, the concept of "anticipated reproach", where seeing someone do something that you deep down know you should do triggers a defense mechanism that makes you dislike them.

It's pretty easy to spot in people, and I go out of my way to avoid people that are that morally and intellectually stunted, so that may contribute to me seeing less of this reaction.

Reading the comments in this thread, can you blame people?

On behalf of drinkers, I apologize for the that a lot of drinkers act this way.

Personally I really don't care what anybody else consumes and I certainly don't look down on people for not drinking. People have lots of good reasons to abstain from drinking, and zero of those reasons are my business (unless they want to share)

I agree here.


I actually drink beer quite regularly, and whiskey when I am more in the mood (and in the money). (see: Canadian)

That said I rarely drink when I'm out with coworker, or I'll limit myself to a beer or two. I've never seen a real hard time from anybody, but I'm also a stubborn person when I feel the need to be. I wouldn't dream of giving anybody a hard time about not drinking and certainly would never look down on anybody for not partaking.

I think my only hope is that this view is reciprocated. I've found drinkers can just as often be condescended to for the indulgence -- and unless one really cuts loose and acts like an idiot, I think it's unwarranted and in poor taste... that it can be seen as an act of lower intelligence, or whatever you want.

Interesting theory. I think that's just a mental game though; I think of myself as "healthy" when I order water when we're out.

Most of my friends are also healthy individuals and will also order water though, so maybe it's dependent on who your "friends" are.

That's my thought, too. When I order water, it's almost like a declaration of a lifestyle - I choose to be fit, to stay healthy, and not to drink any of the substances that are an obstacle on my way.

I guess it's a question of company. If most of your friends order water, you feel a bit guilty ordering something less healthy.

I think that might be why it bothers people who some people do drink when you order water: they see it as you somehow saying that you're better than them by declaring your health lifestyle

No one can make them feel inferior without their consent. They are just projecting their own insecurities.

On the alcoholic drinks front: In Minneapolis there are a number of places where you can buy kombucha on tap, even getting a growler to take home. Lately I've been drinking a glass of that in the evening instead of my standard beer. It seriously makes a difference in my overall well being, especially now that I'm in my 30s and really feel the toll on my body when I drink.

Just order the most expensive steak on the menu. Problem solved.

Not all tonic water is low cal, a 350 mL bottle can be 100 calories from the 30g of sugar added.

I think your perception is stronger than the actual social effect - people who object to others not drinking are loud, but in my experience very much the minority.

I order water with my meals, because I want to taste the food. About the only food that is good with a soda (or beer) is pizza.

> I order water with my meals, because I want to taste the food.

A lot of food tastes are enhanced with alcohol like wine.

I can't imagine what kind of food you like to eat then. The food-wine (or beer) pairing is an integral part of a lot of cuisines. But I can understand that it may be a very alien concept if you like to eat Mac Donald burgers or American pizzas.

I can understand wine or beer -- I was mostly referring to water instead of a sugary soda. But pairing an appropriate wine with seafood or a good steak does enhance the experience.

However, in my case, my schedule (and budget, and family factors) keep me from restaurants, except for an occasional lunch out at work. And then alcohol is verboten if I'm going back to work afterwards.

same here, mostly because its a easy way to cut out a significant source of sugar.

And only low-quality pizza at that.

Topo Chico is the bees knees.

no-calorie tonic? Hmmm.

It exists, using artificial sweetener instead like diet soda.

I am a coffee drinker but I don't really get boost or anything. Nor do I feel tired or anything else that could be called withdrawal during the weekends, when I don't drink it.

For me, making a cup of coffee is just a... ritual of sorts. Weighting the beans, pouring over water, all these things. And I really enjoy the taste, trying different beans. I don't want to sound pretentious, it's just a hobby for me.

Maybe there are some alternatives to it (tea?) that have lower impact on health over time, but I haven't really explored it.

If you love coffee, the best alternative to coffee is decaf. If you buy directly from a great roaster, you'll hardly be able to tell the difference. I'm not sure I'd be able to in a blind taste test (decaf if anything takes a little less bitter in latte form).

If you have a grinder, you could buy beans from any number of places online, like Blue Bottle. I'm lucky enough to live near a ton of roaster coffee shops that will grind bags for me.

I considered this, but the options are very limited where I live (Lithuania). We have a few high quality local roasters, but even they have only one blend of decaf (and dozens of normal coffee).

Off topic but I visited Lithuania recently and got acquainted with the šakotis. Now I'm back in Estonia and can't find it anywhere in stores and having withdrawal symptoms :D It was so good.

I'm curious as to why you have the roasters grind the beans for you. Quality of ground coffee deteriorates much faster than whole beans. It depends on the grind size, but I'm pretty sure it's hours compared to weeks. A manual grinder like the Hario Skerton only costs $40 which is about the cost of a month of coffee beans for people who drink a cup or 2 every day.

I'm fairly lazy so rather than make one or two cups of coffee a day, I prefer to make a one-week batch of cold brew at a time. (It's also a pain to manually grind that much coffee at once.) Cold brew is a lot more forgiving about "grind freshness."

I'm considering buying a grinder, but it'll probably be $100-200, and I'm not sure if that's worth the price when the coffee shop will do it for me.

Oh, if it's for cold brew than that's completely fine. Definitely not worth the price if that's all you're doing, but a grinder does give you the flexibility to make other types of coffee.

Had your DNA scanned? There are some protein configs that are associated with caffeine having a lesser effect. 23andme will show them up.

I have them, and I find coffee aids digestion - I'll finish a big restaurant meal with an espresso - but I can immediately get to sleep when I get home.

I'm the same. I don't get any effects until I drink about a pot of coffee (about a liter) in an hour or two and even then it's just my stomach that complains. For the record, I've gone over a month without coffee and still nothing.

Seriously, try 1-2 weeks without coffee... you'll feel it.

I did that, and after a couple of days the withdrawal disappeared and I felt exactly as before. No better and no worse. Started drinking coffee again since it's good, cheap and healthy-ish (at least more so than what I would replace it with). YMMV

Same here. Except I don't notice any signs of withdrawal (and I drink multiple cups a day). There are people who drink a pot plus a day, maybe those are the ones who would really benefit.

I drink a pot plus a day, stopped for a couple weeks, felt no difference. Prior to that I used to drink a 12-pack plus of diet soda a day. Stopped. BIG difference.

I think the difference is that coffee is a morning thing for me. I'll get through the pot by noon and be done, so it doesn't affect my sleep.

Some people don't though. I've gone months without drinking any coffee and months drinking 5 or 6 cups a day, and I've never noticed a difference (obviously there may be a difference and I just haven't noticed it).

I have and I genuinely don't notice any significant difference compared to drink 3-5 cups a day.

I'm very much the same. And I do envy people who gets into some kind of hyper productive mode after a coffee, or like my partner who can't sleep at night if she gets a cup after 2pm.

I can have a large cup of coffee at 10pm, become tired and be sleeping at 11pm. Also, during extended vacations (>2 weeks) I typically go without coffee and, what I can tell, don't feel the difference.

I wonder why this is case...?

I can have a cup at 16:00 and then have a problem sleeping at night. It does not make me hyper or active though - just keeps my anxiety levels higher so I can't fall asleep.


Two days is not enough. Try being off it for a week. I bet you will feel terible on day 4.

Not really. I drink coffee off and on throughout the day, too - but to be fair, I'm making each cup fresh and rarely drink two cups in a row.

Folks react really differently to caffeine. I've never been able to use it to fight against sleepyness, for example. I'm fine drinking it before bed, though I try to give 30 minutes afterwards just so I can pee. I miss drinking coffee if I quit, and tea is hardly a replacement if you are skipping caffeine. (My other beverage is water, and I don't vary often). My father, on the other hand, needed to stop caffeine after lunchtime to sleep well at night. My mother develops headaches, which might not be a problem if it weren't for migraines and cluster headaches. Oddly enough, sometimes the caffeine helps that bit.

Other folks get grouchy if they quit suddenly. A few get hungry, and some folks just feel generally bad.

I drink 3 cups of coffee every day. Often when traveling I'll have occasional periods of 3-5 days without any coffee whatsoever. Don't feel any different.

I drink a cup of coffee every day. If I go a day without it, then I'll get a minor headache around 4pm and then the next day I'll be fine. It heavily depends on the person.

I drink coffee because I enjoy it, not to give me a "boost" in the morning. I limit myself to 1 large mug per day, with the (very) occasional afternoon cup. I don't notice any difference between my energy levels before / after my morning coffee, nor on days I skip it. I get a headache in the early afternoon when I skip it, though, so I'm definitely addicted.

I wonder if the author's energy level issues were due to his "ever-increasing consumption".

I'm similar. I drink coffee because I really like drinking coffee. That it's healthy is another bonus point, but at the same time I have to limit myself because the voice in my head says "don't drink too much otherwise your off-days will be harder".

Though I am still at maximum 1 cup per day and have absolutely no problem skipping a few days here and there. Good thing about caffeine is that it's very fast to reset back to 0.

Other caffeine sources I enjoy as well but try to stay away as much as possible and only consume very very very occasionally. Studies that link telomere length to caffeine (from non-coffee sources) are enough to make me not want to drink energy drinks at all despite me really liking the taste and boost.

I enjoy coffee too, but I've noticed that with the pods machines like Nespresso I tend to drink more of it and I wonder if it's not the same for the author (I had a french press before and I had to clean and prepare the coffee which was 5-10 minutes per day, vs 1 minute now). My new coffee machine created an addiction without I've noticed it. The bright side is that according to recent studies coffee can prevent liver cancer. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25291138)

>> It is unclear whether the benefits are significant enough to "treat" patients with chronic liver disease.

From the abstract, they never say it prevent liver cancer.. but maybe that could help if you already have a big liver disease.

Do you notice you are more tired in the afternoon on days you have had coffee in the morning?

For the life of me at around 4pm I start to feel snoozy if I had one in the morning.

I thought that originally, but turns out my lunchtime routine had more of an effect than my coffee consumption. Getting up and away from my desk for 30 minutes has far more of an impact than whether I have 0 1 or 2 coffees that day.

I've changed from drinking coffee in the morning to only in the afternoon. Keeps me awake after a big lunch.

I stopped drinking it for a year just to see what difference it made - it felt like more even energy over the day, but mornings lost something - so I have two strong cups very early now and no caffeine after 9am - except maybe tea

Some of the energy thing is related to dehydration I suspect - if I drink more water over the day it has same effect as stopping coffee

> Some of the energy thing is related to dehydration I suspect - if I drink more water over the day it has same effect as stopping coffee

For me, that was the majority of it. I've settled on a 1:1 ratio. Drink a cup of coffee, then a full cup of water before I have another coffee.

When I wake up I pour 12oz of water into the electric kettle. I use a French press. And I chug 12 oz+ of water.

Lack of hydrating is probably my worst bad habit.

By far the best tip I ever got from /r/LifeProTips was "drink two cups of water first thing in the morning". Makes a huge difference for my energy levels and likelihood of getting a headache.

I drink Pepsi, and have tried to quit many times. One major thing I notice when I'm "on it" is that I get super drowsy a couple hours after lunch every day. When I'm off Pepsi/caffeine, I don't get this afternoon drowsiness. However, It's really hard to stay up after 10pm when I am off Pepsi/caffeine, which is when I work on my personal projects..

Is this Diet/Light or is this normal Pepsi?

What you're describing is sugar dependence, not caffiene. Cut out all processed sugar and after 2 weeks you'll wonder what drug you are on (then cut out "healthy" carbs like bread and pasta and you'll wonder how you ever wanted to eat them).

I've gone on anti-sugar diets too. This issue I'm having is definitely from the caffeine.

I get those symptoms from coffee. I don't eat processed sugar and I mostly avoid other carbs during the work week. When I don't drink coffee I don't need an afternoon nap. But I like both coffee and naps so I often have coffee.

Do you put sugar in your coffee, though?

Quoting myself from my original comment "I don't eat processed sugar".

Just like you, I enjoy drinking coffee too and I don't notice any change in energy levels. If I don't drink coffee in the morning the only thing that happens is the headache in the afternoon, as you mentioned.

When I drink coffee at night, which is rare, I also don't have any trouble falling asleep.

I also feel an oncoming headache and dreariness at 3-4pm like clockwork if I hadn't had caffeine.

> I wonder if the author's energy level issues were due to his "ever-increasing consumption".

I'm the author. Apparently caffeine affects people in different ways.

> A caveat to all of these points: I also now consume very little sugar and alcohol and I meditate regularly.

Things like this generally make me wary. Not so much because of them causing side effects that are harder to disentangle, but their adoption indicating that the author is fairly stabilized, which is a giant side effect in itself.

I have a fairly unhealthy lifestyle. When I started getting panic attacks, trembling, palpitations, skin rashes, walking up 5x during the night, feeling exhausted all day, etc, I stopped taking caffeine... And did not change a single other thing.

It took me over a month to few "normal" again.

First week: headaches, back pain, vomiting, nausea, cramps, etc.

Second week: feeling like shit. Had no energy for anything.

Third week: a resemblance of being normal again.

Fourth week: feeling like I was at 60% of my previous energy levels and thinking "this sucks but if this is the new normal, I can get used to it".

Second month: energy levels are back, never feel sleepy again, focus is back completely, etc. I'm even thinking about gym, running, etc.

So this is my data point. From 3-4 expressos and of caffeinated sodas to zero.

> "His research suggested that withdrawals began within 12–24 hours after stopping caffeine intake and could last as long as nine days"


This could be explained by regression towards the mean. When your health problems reached an extreme they were very likely to eventually get better. This might have happened regardless of any changes to your lifestyle.


It really is a very fascinating phenomenon. My friend who works as a psychologist have noticed that the most "successful" work is to always accept crisis patients immediately. If they have to queue for 2 months before getting clinical help, they have often improved by themselves, and it is therefore harder to reduce their problems further.

I'm having a hard time figuring out your point for this specific situation. Are you saying the list of symptoms I described would eventually go away by itself?

(I'm not op).

It's not that there's a regression-to-mean force that eliminates abnormal symptoms. It's more that the symptoms have some underlying cause that will fix itself over time.

If you start some intervention (such as stopping caffeine) at the same time you are naturally getting better, then you nay false attribute your getting better to the intervention rather than to its real cause: our bodies tend to bounch back from illness.

Did those expressos and sodas have sugar?

Sodas.. of course? Expressos, no.

I didn't stop taking sugar. I only dropped coffee and stopped taking caffeinated sodas... I didn't stop taking sodas.

Then, if you cut out sugars completely you'll discover a new height of energy. Probably after a few days of withdrawal.

This why it's so hard to do controlled experiments: habits rarely come alone. When you change a habit, you often start a cascade that changes significant parts of your life. Some habits make your life considerably better, like exercising regularly leading to eating, sleeping, and working better, sometimes worse, like smoking leading to drinking.

I feel all the benefits the author mentions, not by giving up coffee, but giving up carbs during morning and afternoon, and having some light exercise every day.

I occasionally quit caffeine as a way to recalibrate the tolerance that develops over time. But, within certain limits (my general consumption is 1-2 coffees a day, sometimes 3-4 if super tired or when exercising), there's very few negatives for most people, and quite a number of benefits. Nice explanatory video on the matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTVE5iPMKLg

I also find that my tolerance drops very quickly when I quit. When I'm on vacation, I don't drink much coffee because my schedule is different. I find after 2-3 days, I no longer am in withdrawal and when I come back from a 1-2 week break, my tolerance is very low.

Quit coffee 6 months ago after 20 years on the daily (generally 2 very strong home made double or triple espressos).

It's not so much that eliminating caffeine is a life changing experience, but rather, you're unchained from the necessity to, above all else, get your caffeine fix. Some people can take it or leave it, go without for days at a stretch, which was not at all the case for me -- the only time I ever went without was when bed ridden or on a meditation retreat.

In terms of energy, the reserves are deeper, since the energy depleting caffeine rush is gone. Also, quit consuming refined sugar, which may be a bigger win than quitting caffeine -- I think it's closer to the natural state that humans experienced long before concentrated Xs came into being.

You have to want to quit. If you're younger you probably can withstand the racing heart, having to urinate frequently, insomnia, mood swings, and other negative side effects that inevitably affect the aging caffeine drinker.

How old are you? I love my coffee but I have those problems too.

On my short experiment quitting coffee (30 days IIRC), nothing really changed, so I restarted using it (which always feels great).

> How old are you?


> On my short experiment quitting coffee (30 days IIRC), nothing really changed

What has changed for me is that I no longer feel shackled to a pernicious habit. The caffeine addicted mind is very persuasive: "it's healthy, don't stop", "it's normal, everyone drinks coffee", "but the withdrawl symptoms", "I won't be as productive", etc.

I find it hard to take articles around this seriously when they don't take into consideration the huge variability humans show in metabolising coffee and it's related health effects. A light introduction can be found here: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/for-coffee-drinker... A more in depth can be found: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242593/ It's all about CYP1A2

I'm the original author. I tried to make clear this was lessons learned from my personal experience. I see here a few people claiming caffeine does not affect them at all. I'll update the post to try to make clearer that I am personally affected by caffeine and maybe this does not apply to all people.

You make a good point. I've had my genome sampled by 23andMe, so I went back and looked at my report. I updated my post to point out that my results might not be the same as those for others.

Interesting, thanks for the comment, actually I started reading on this because of 23andMe as well and I'm on the opposite spectrum, which means coffee doesn't affect me much, the same can't be said of my partner who has like you also quit btw.

I love coffee, "wake up and smell the coffee" has a true meaning to me. I usually drink one or two cups of black (no sugar) coffee every morning, and 2 espressos during the rest of the day.

I exercise on a daily basis, I eat well and I go to bed on time and I usually sleep between 7-8 hours.

I don't have the same side-effects most people talk here, thankfully, because the smell of a just made home-made coffee is one the best things ever :P

I've also been off of caffeine for about two years, for a few reasons (anxiety reduction, desire to be free of chemical dependencies, and especially sleep improvement). It took me about three weeks of depression and lethargy, but was totally worth it. My sleep especially is much-improved, and I'd say that my anxiety levels are generally lower.

The main thing is that you need to get enough sleep at night.

If you're interested, I found some support on reddit, http://www.reddit.com/r/decaf.

Thank you!

Quitting caffeine is hard, but I found a workaround: get the flu.

If you're like me, when you're sick in bed, the last thing you'll want is coffee. By the end of your flu, you'll also have gotten off caffeine and you'll have ascribed the withdrawal symptoms to the flu. Done! Now go buy some decaf :-)

My father quit smoking this way.

I quit smoking similarly -- a bit of a hangover, an illness, followed by a terrible week of digestive issues (likely due to the quitting smoking) and after the week, not starting again wasn't a problem.

Now I wish I'd never done it in the first place, but here we are.

I think it just comes down to feeling unable to procure the item of your addiction -- and the mental position to want to leave it behind. I couldn't properly quit until that point... pure resolve. Pure resolve, and being stuck in bed in terrible pain for a week (haha?)

Decaf does contain caffeine though.

True, but very little.

But you're also putting faith in the person who prepared it that it truly is decaf.

I've been burned by getting regular coffees at restaurants and coffee machines when I ordered decaf.

I wonder how hard it would be to have a "litmus paper" style test for caffeine.

About 15-20% of full strength. Hardly negligible.

More like 5%, but it's high enough that if you measure your coffee intake in pots/day then there is still enough caffeine for physical effects and dependence.

As for me, I enjoy drinking coffee and I enjoy drinking alcohol. They're small pleasures of life that contribute to my overall happiness.

"As for me, I enjoy drinking coffee and I enjoy drinking alcohol. They're small pleasures of life that contribute to my overall happiness."

Yeah - it's like the old saying "it's easy to live to 100 years old, just give up all the things that make you want to live until 100'.

I am typically very health conscious, even an aspiring sort of pseudo-vegetarian, with the exception of cured meat. Keep hearing about how bad the stuff is for you but you can pry my prosciutto from my cold dead hands.

> it's easy to live to 100 years old, just give up all the things that make you want to live until 100

Oh-so cool.

This makes me mull about the role that moderation plays in a person's overall happiness and success in life.

I only drank coffee regularly for a few months in my life and the past five years I've removed all caffeine (that I'm aware of) from my diet except for special occasions where I need to stay up for safety reasons, usually driving long distances (extremely rare). It definitely helps as I have insomnia. The insomnia did not go away, but I have noticed a huge improvement. When I do have caffeine it wires me up the whole day into the night, even if I drink it in the morning. I have no problems with energy or anything like that and also sometimes do the intermittent fasting the author talks about. All in all, I agree that it's a huge improvement. I'm also not dependent which is a huge plus and it saves money. I think it's definitely worth trying, especially for people that are consuming many cups of coffee throughout the day. Of course, as the author points out, if you are going to try it, make sure you get enough sleep. Focusing on getting enough sleep, I find, is a much better energy boosting technique (for the next day) than caffeine or anything else for that matter.

Coincidentally I just decided a few days ago to ditch caffeine for awhile.

Last week I had terrible sleep, from 3-5 hours a night. Even though I was exhausted during the day, I still couldn't fall asleep at night.

I only drink two cups a day, with sometimes a Coke at lunch. But might be my old age that is making me hypersensitive to caffeine. Back in college I could drink cup after cup and still fall asleep when I was ready.

So I'm stopping caffeine for awhile to see how it goes.

In my experience, sleep definitely gets worse with age. I often can't fall asleep even when exhausted or wake up multiple times sometimes unable to get back to sleep. That's why I put such a premium on it. Sleep decides at least 50 to 75% of how my day will be, maybe more. It's by far the most important bodily function, imo. Exercise is second and can undo many of the effects of bad sleep temporarily, but there's nothing like a good night's sleep. I would not skimp on it. The anti sleep culture that exists is horror and hell to me but to each his own.

I love coffee ... when I'm addicted to caffeine. I found when I get off of caffeine my love of coffee disappears.

I've been on/off caffeine numerous times. Mostly because I have a big backpack trip where obtaining caffeine is a pain. It takes exactly a week for me with days 3-6 being miserable. I feel I am not fully "there" almost as if I'm an observer in my own body.

There are two advantages I see in being off caffeine. First you are not dependent on a drug. Second, if you do need the drug for a rare occasion (maybe driving late into the night etc.) it is there for you. Being off caffeine then drinking a cup of coffee gives you a huge jolt.

I got back on caffeine recently to see if it would help me lose weight. It did not. Now I'm fat and addicted.

> There are two advantages I see in being off caffeine. First you are not dependent on a drug. Second, if you do need the drug for a rare occasion (maybe driving late into the night etc.) it is there for you. Being off caffeine then drinking a cup of coffee gives you a huge jolt.

This is my exact experience with the various kinds of ADHD stimulant meds.

Yeah, I always say the best reason to quit caffeine is because it feels so good when you get back onto caffeine. :)

Annnnnd this is why I don't do tobacco or "real" drugs.

Yeah, I always loathed the taste of coffee and never understood how people drink the stuff. Now I drink it every day (mmmm caffeine)

The good thing about going off caffeine is that it works well when you have some from time. For example, when I have a long drive ahead of me I get some Starbucks. I am so sensitive to caffeine now that it keeps me awake the whole drive (and a few hours more unfortunately).

For staying awake I can also recommend ice cream OR chewing gum.

edit: not at the same time

My favorite ice cream flavor as a child was Pink Bubblegum at Baskin Robbins: https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/produ...

Holy crap I hated that flavor when it was in.

(former BR scooper. It got _everywhere_)

at the same time?!?

Mmm, my favorite flavor.


I think the supplements and alternatives, which are mentioned in the article are a bit weird...I think those are sports-products, and not real alternatives to coffee.

I also want to reduce my caffeine/coffee intake, but I want to have the "same feeling" as when I drink coffee...

For this I drink the following: * My girlfriend showed me Caro Coffee (wheat-basis): http://amzn.to/2w8RhDu You make it like instant coffee with hot water (and milk/sugar)

* Yogi Tea (chocolate-taste) http://amzn.to/2wZCVSP Usually I drink this in winter.. But I'm not sure whether it is completly caffeine free.

* Eimalzin (malt-cocoa) http://amzn.to/2i3bTrs ok thats just cocoa.. still I like it from time to time

* Zotter (various drinking chocolates) http://amzn.to/2w5W7SD hmm very tasty! but a bit "heavy", so I only drink them from time to time.

But I am always happy to find good tasting alternatives to coffee... Do you have any suggestions?

Just a bit of nitpicking: Caro Coffee is made from roasted barley, malted barley, chicory, and rye; not wheat.

Wikipedia has a list of coffee substitutes[0], but the only one I know and can recommend is barley malt coffee, which you've already mentioned.


Check out Postum and Pero, the former being primarily wheat/barley, the latter mostly chicory.

One thing that was striking to me when quitting caffeine (after drinking coffee consistently for years every day) was how after a week or two the feeling you have when waking up is completely different. I had always assumed when you wake up it was normal to feel terrible until the morning coffee. Not so. Off caffeine, a proper nights sleep will have you up and active right away.

> Off caffeine, a proper nights sleep will have you up and active right away.

This is not universally true.

I've experienced mornings in four different cases. Chronologically: drinking lots of soda, dropping caffeine and taking Adderall, consuming basically no stimulants for a year or so other than the occasional soda once or twice a month, and drinking black coffee and/or green tea regularly.

They've all been universally pretty awful, with still an hour of snooze button needed at most, but caffeine by itself has been the least bad both for mornings (including compared to no stimulant consumption) and in terms of overall side effects.

By far the worst regular day-to-day experience is the caffeine+sugar combo, though. If you can tolerate your caffeine without sugar, it can be quite nice.

(The worst absolute experience is a cold-turkey dropping of amphetamines for a weekend to reset a growing tolerance. Be prepared to watch a lot of TV, eat a lot of cheetos, and have very little desire or ability for serious thinking.)

Assuming you wake with an alarm, the biggest impact on how you feel when you first wake is where you were in your sleep cycle. In deep or REM sleep you will feel lousy.

Taking a stimulant wthin a short period of waking up can interfere with your natural waking process. That might be why you felt bad.

Rather than quitting caffeine entirely, waiting two hours after waking (e.g. when you get to work) may also fix that dependency.

I only started drinking coffee two years ago. First it was once or twice a week, then it became everyday.

About 6 months ago I started having slight muscle tremors, my doctor said it could be because of stress. I didn't tell him I started having too much coffee (nor he asked me).

But the tremors kind of increased slowly. I read on HN about some guy who had similar problem with caffeine shots. It then struck them that coffee could be the problem.

Now I rarely drink coffee and tremors are also gone.

Caffeine increases excretion of calcium and magnesium [1]. This is why some caffeine pills are pressed with ~75mg calcium.

Muscle tremors could be a sign of magnesium and/or calcium deficiency, so it's likely that you were losing too many minerals and not making up for it in your diet.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7836625

I "quit" caffeine while dealing with a mysterious and persistent nausea which ended up being mild food allergies.

Either way, before I knew what was going on, I got frustrated at my textbook healthiness yielding no answers, went off the low-carb deep and and cut out grains and sugars almost entirely from my diet.

Because my insulin/glucose levels have now moved from the penthouse to a basement apartment, I no longer have dramatic swings in energy throughout the day. My energy at 7AM is roughly the same energy I have by half after 4. I don't need caffeine or sugar to push me though a tired spell, and I haven't felt a caffeine/insulin crash in months.

Caffeine control is one thing but insulin is the body's top dog energy regulator. If you have energy issues, start by focusing on insulin, not caffeine.

I'm the original author. I should have mentioned in my post that I've also been consuming very few daily carbs for a few years now. I experience the effects you describe now when I do indulge in a doughnut or the like. It's hard to tell now how much of my even mood is due to quitting caffeine and how much is due to steady insulin levels. I do feel that I benefit from being very cautious about consuming all of the above (caffeine, sugar, carbs).

I love coffee-- the smell, the ritual, the taste, but even 1 cup turns my anxiety from a normal 2/10 to a 7/10.

On top of that I don't even feel more focused or productive from caffeine. Actually I get easily overwhelmed and rather indecisive. My brain is not made for stimulants, as adderall makes me tired.

I'm going to try taking theanine with a cup tomorrow, if that doesn't improve things then I'm off caffeine for a long time.

Same reasons why I quit coffee 7 years ago.

It's not even hard. Coffee is only useful for zombies.

I love the taste, and even the most popular drink around here ("mate") has caffeine. So quitting would be hard.

Started drinking water instead of drinking soda and coffee very often. Never looked back. I may drink a soda once or twice but I really don't miss it at this point. I got into this after using the MyWater app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mywater/id665244736?mt=8

>There have been many demanding days in the last couple of years where I felt that if I would just give in and allow myself a cup of coffee, I would get more done.

Caffeine doesn't do anything for me anymore except stop dependence side effects - been thinking about ditching it and using modafinil on days like these - seems relatively side effect free and easy to get pharma grade stuff.

Modafinil is relatively side effects free? Are there any studies of long-term modafinil use effects?

With long-term use Stevens–Johnson syndrome is a risk.

I'm not a doctor, but is SJS a long-term risk of *afinil?

Or is it the symptom of a drug sensitivity that some people have and some people don't?

All the research I did indicated that it was an extremely rare reaction that certain people would have, not that it was a result of long-term use.

I have a lot of problems trying to quit caffeine. Ever since I was a young child, they gave me really powerful amphetamines to get me to focus. Then when I turned 18 it became much more difficult to obtain.

In the US, Ritalin/dexadrine/adderall are all class II controlled substances with similar restrictions to cocaine or fentynal, so in order to get it I would need to have a doctor's appointment every month, which wasn't only inconvenient but super expensive once I lost my mom's insurance.

So, dipshit that I am, I replaced it with megadoses of caffeine. At my peak, I was consuming 1g (yes, gram) of the stuff every day in the form of energy drinks. I am now down to 280-560mg per day on average. I have tried not drinking any, but the inability to focus and headaches mean that trying to cutback seriously puts my job at risk.

I really wish I could just get back on ritalin or something so that I can give my poor heart a rest, but I am afraid to walk into a doctors office after not going for years and asking for drugs.

> I am afraid to walk into a doctors office after not going for years and asking for drugs.

Just do it, it's really not that hard. Lots of patients (especially with ADHD) go off their meds for long periods. If anything, it's a sign that the diagnosis was correct.

Many medical organizations require a licensed psychologist to write the prescription for ADHD medications, rather than the attending PCP, and many insurance plans don't cover psychologist visits.

It would be a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.

And all insurance plans do cover mental health per the ACA... It is one of the ten benefits that must be covered on all plans under the law.

As a psychologist, my experience is that lots of physicians, even psychiatrists, want testing and a diagnosis from a psychologist before prescribing, so it might look like the psychologist is prescribing, when they are just diagnosing.

Incidentally, psychologist prescribing happens in some states also.

They cover prescriptions, but not the ongoing meetings to get the type II drug prescriptions.

For similar reasons to your use of caffeine, I decided to intermittently take Sudafed for when I needed extra focus or energy. Not the off-the-shelf kind with phelylephrine(which is a total placebo), but the kind with pseudoephedrine that you have to ask the pharmacist for. I find it works very well for short periods of time, and it has effects that are closer to that of prescription amphetamines. I'm probably on a list of "possible meth cooks" at this point because of how often I buy it, but it's worth it to not have to justify myself to a doctor all the time.

If you live in Southern California I can recommend some doctors who will prescribe it (if you have a legitimate need for it). I don't currently use adderall but I believe people should have access to it with medical supervision if they've done the research and think it will help.

    I have tried not drinking any, but the inability to focus and headaches mean that trying to cutback seriously puts my job at risk.
Hey, I've been there.

How do you consume your caffeine? Black coffee or something else?

If you're drinking coffees with a bunch of cream and sugar, or energy drinks, you're addicted to both caffeine and sugar. Try quitting one at a time. Slowly switch to unsweetened tea/coffee so that you're getting your caffeine but not blasts of sugar. Even if that's all you do it's an improvement in mood/energy. Once the sugar thing's stabilized you can think about tapering down the caffeine. YMMV but if you do it over the course of a week or so you should be fine.

If you're drinking diet soda energy drinks with no sugar... I still feel like these have a lot of the effects of sugar because they trigger a lot of the same chemicals in the body. I think these artificial sweeteners have their own weirdly addictive properties.

In any case... good luck!!!

My drink of choice is sugar free monsters, so I got the sugar thing in check. Definitely a valid point, though.

I'm going to take a guess here.

I'm guessing you drink the zero-cal Monsters because you don't like the taste of coffee or tea? Don't worry, you're not alone. =)

I'm going to make a suggestion. If you want to break the Monster addiction you might think about exploring cold brew coffee. It's not the same as brewing a pot of coffee and throwing it in the fridge. With cold brew coffee, you just soak the coffee grounds in water over night. What you get is extremely concentrated coffee, with like 4x the caffeine of regular coffee, but with a ridiculously smooth taste, lacking the acridity/acidity/whatever of regular coffee... a lot of people who don't like coffee enjoy cold brew coffee.

Just remember that it's very concentrated stuff, 1/4 cup of cold brew coffee has the caffeine of an entire cup of coffee.

It's also a lot cheaper than Monster; you just use regular old coffee from the supermarket, you're gonna save like $50 a week.

But anyway, that's one possible way to tackle the addictions separately. Monster --> cold brew coffee --> single addiction that you should be able to beat just by tapering the dosage over time.

You may consider contacting a general practitioner or psychiatrist to get a prescription for Vyvanse. From what I've read, it is essentially a harder-to-abuse time-release version of Adderall. Doctors can reduce patient visits to once every 3 months or even 6 months.

Vyvanse is terrible in my experience. The release of the drug is highly irregular. I'm not sure what's responsible for this, but when I was on it, some days it wouldn't even last 8 hours and I'd have too much in my system at once, and other days it wouldn't pick up enough and then keep me up at night. Adderall XR is much more consistent.

I also do large doses of caffeine to get through the day. I have long-term severe insomnia, and have just been prescribed modafinil, which in theory does not affect sleep.

And definitely go see your doctor, if you are anxious about it, doing it will make you feel less anxious afterwards, even if the visit accomplishes nothing.

I have essentially been doing the same thing with 2-4 grams a day, and occasionally add nicotine gum as well. Fortunately I'll be getting health insurance again soon though, so I may head back to a doctor and try and get my prescription back. I've been without it for a couple years now.

Once my dose was titrated, I went down to 1 visit per 6 months; my Psychiatrist will mail my prescriptions monthly. They are required to see you every so often, and cannot issue a prescription for more than a month, but do not need to see you in person every month.

Jesus, that's like 10 espressos!

I'm at >= 5. Pretty bad.

I also feels like caffeine doesn't have much effect anymore.

Any way to make quitting easier?

I quit a heavy coffee habit recently.

I cut my caffeine in half each day (and went from a quarter cup to zero) I did experience some withdrawal symptoms, including headache, lethargy, and some mild but notable depression. The worst of it was over in a couple of days, I'd say the full deal took about a week and a half. Not a load of fun but honestly not that bad considering I was a heavy coffee drinker for 30 years.

I'd recommend drawing down a little slower than 50% a day. Maybe a third or quarter? Either way don't go cold turkey definitely draw down.

I've been out out caffeine since January because I did something similar (and got similar withdrawal symptoms): I started by mixing regular coffee beans with decaf ones. First two weeks I used a 25/75% decaf to regular mix, next two weeks 50/50%, then 75%/25%, etc.

The key for my was finding good quality (and expensive) decaf coffe beans. After triying differente brands I settled with Lavazza.

Biggest tip: make sure you're not addicted to sugar as well. If you are taking your caffeine as part of a sugary concoction, taper down the sugar part and get onto plain coffee/tea.

Then taper down the coffee. Have 3/4 of a cup when you would have had a whole cup. Then 1/2 cup. Etc.

YMMV but I find I can do it fairly easily over the course of a week usually. With the amount you're drinking, maybe a month would be easier. Go as slow as you want... it's not a "macho" contest, there's 0 reason to make it hurt. Go as slowly as you want... no need to impact your mood or anything.

I quit for a while by switching to black tea. Lots and lots of the stuff, and working down from there.

Isn't that caffeine, too (actually we have a name for caffeine found in tea vs. coffee called "teina" vs. "caffeina" in Italian, but not in English I believe)?

Sounds like quitting drinking by switching from wine to lots and lots of beer...

Black and green tea do contain caffeine, but quite a bit less: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-he...

It depends a bit on the specific preparation but black tea contains at most half as much caffeine as brewed coffee (per liter) and green tea is again half as much.

Thus an easy way to reduce your caffeine intake is to replace a cup coffee by a cup of the same size of black tea and maybe later green tea (you are not going to drink twice as much liquid and are not drastically cutting your caffeine intake).

Sure, OP was saying "lots and lots of tea", though :-)

Of course. Switching to lots of it and working down from there.

The English term, "theine" (not to be confused with theanine, an amino acid analogue also found in tea), is not commonly used anymore. It's occasionally used by cranks who insist that it's actually a different and preferable compound to caffeine.

No need to quit if you don't want to. Just drink less. Mix your coffee with decaf.

I kind of want to, because at this point I _have to_ drink it to function, but it doesn't really wake me up.

I would say that when I'm down of caffeine I'm more tired that I should, but not that I'm more awake when I drink it.

Try taking some theanine with your caffeine, it will be MUCH easier to cutback.

Exchanging caffeine for amphetamines that develop real physical dependence doesn't feel like a good course of action.

Why is "amphetamines" italicized?

Also, it appears parent has an unusual level of caffeine intake, and did much better when they were taking amphetamines.

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