85% of the U.S. population drinks at least one caffeinated beverage per day. Caffeine consumers over age 22 gulp down about 300mg of the stimulant per day, predominantly in the form of coffee and soda.
But if you’re a daily drinker of caffeine, relying on your morning espresso for an A.M. jumpstart, or can of Coke for an afternoon pick-me-up, chances are, you’re consuming caffeine all wrong. Though everybody reacts differently to the drug, most habitual users receive little to no benefit from caffeine; it neither enhances mental performance nor mental alertness.
To the novice caffeine drinker, a cup of coffee is an awakening experience. Metabolism is boosted, along with alertness and even physical endurance. These effects are rooted in cerebral subterfuge. Caffeine molecules from the beverage weasel their way to the brain where they sneakily bind to adenosine receptors. These receptors, which produce feelings of tiredness and fatigue when filled with adenosine, a by-product of cellular activity, don’t respond to caffeine.This allows the body’s natural stimulants, dopamine and norepinephrine, to persist at higher levels.