Last Tuesday, I missed work. I was sick.
And I don't mean like "I need a mental health day and my favorite show is on Netflix" sick. I mean, sick sick. Like splitting headache, muscle aches, chills, and falling asleep standing up sick.
But, I also didn't really have any other symptoms. No cough, no runny nose, no sore throat, despite not feeling any better. I thought to myself, "there's something wrong here."
Turns out, I was right. When I went to get my coffee maker ready the next morning, and poured some coffee beans into my coffeemaker, I noticed a little word on the bag that had been hiding from me: DECAF.
I had accidentally bought decaf coffee beans, and had been suffering caffeine withdrawals all week.
Hello, I am Rob Harris, and I am a coffee addict.
Turns out, I'm not alone. In fact, a study from Gallup in 2015 showed about 2/3 of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee per day; the average coffee drinker has 2.7 cups per day; a quarter call themselves addicted; and, only 10 percent want to cut back.
Turns out, I'm not alone. A Gallup study shows a quarter of coffee drinkers say they're addicted, and only 10% want to kick the habit. pic.twitter.com/S3MJjL20Tq— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) October 25, 2017
White Dog Coffee barista Hillary Hyatt, is one of these self-diagnosed addicts with no intention of quitting.
"Oh, I have a terrible headache that won't go away." Hyatt said of days she skips a cup of joe. "Literally, if I don't have my coffee by 10 AM, then I'm pretty much screwed for the day. It's love in a cup, for sure."
For anyone out there who does want to cut back on caffeine, MultiCare Rockwood Clinic dietitian, Jenn Ropp recommends doing exactly the opposite of my inadvertent cold turkey approach. A better way, she said, is to begin my mixing decaffeinated coffee with caffeinated coffee and slowly increase the ratio.
"The more you rely on it, the tougher the symptoms are going to be to stop drinking it," Ropp said. "And especially like with you, you completely stopped caffeine. [S]o your reaction to it was more significant than, say, somebody who was weening themselves down off of caffeine.
Gallup: about 2/3 of Americans drink at least one cup per day; average coffee drinker has 2.7 cups per day. pic.twitter.com/sXV6SXstlj— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) October 25, 2017
Ropp also reassured that most Americans do not consume enough caffeine to have major long-term health consequences. The recommended daily allowance for caffeine, she said, is 400 milligrams per day (which is about 4 cups of regular brew coffee). Most Americans consume between 200 and 300 milligrams per day, placing them under that threshold. Still, it's important to pay attention to certain drinks that have extra caffeine and other stimulants added.
"Some of the drinks out there do have [more than 400 milligrams], so you just have to be careful with what kind of drink you're choosing to get your caffeine from."