For a great many of us, if not most of us, no morning can truly get started before we’ve had at least one cup of coffee. But how much benefit do we actually get from caffeine in terms of energy, and how much is just habit? YouTuber Chase Barron conducted a month-long experiment to find out, giving up caffeine entirely for 30 days in order to see what effect it had on his body. And perhaps the most surprising takeaway he had from the entire experience was that… well, he felt fine.
“Nothing crazy happened,” he says. “I didn’t get headaches, I wasn’t depressed, my digestion was fine if not better than normal.” In addition, he didn’t notice any dips in his focus or productivity throughout the 30 days either.
He acknowledges, however, that one of the reasons he might not have had any withdrawal was because he did prepare for the challenge by reducing his caffeine intake somewhat during the month prior, switching out half of his coffee in the mornings for decaf, and drinking herbal tea in the afternoons.
But it wasn’t just a case of removing coffee from his diet; he soon found that caffeine is listed in an ingredient in food and drinks he’d never realized before. “If you’re trying to cut out any and all caffeine, you’ve got to be careful,” he adds. “Caffeine is in a surprising amount of stuff.”
Barron also discovered that his energy levels were more consistent than they used to be when he drank coffee, with fewer highs and lows. “I used to have peaks and valleys of energy throughout the day, but without the caffeine, I feel much more stable,” he says. “I’m no longer riding that rollercoaster of highs and lows… I’m just kind of staying in the middle all day, and I really like it.”
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However, just because he he is fine without caffeine, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to continue abstaining. “I’ve learned that caffeine is not essential or necessary for my life to persist. I simply don’t need it. But I still want it. Especially in the form of coffee,” he says. “I miss the taste of coffee, I miss the smell of coffee, I miss the routine, I miss going into coffee shops… There is a huge social ritual surrounding coffee that I just like being a part of.”
Rather than giving up caffeine altogether, Barron says he will be moderating his intake, and will have a deeper understanding of his own relationship with the substance: “I don’t see myself relying on caffeine for energy consistently moving forward.”
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