Caffeine. It’s a drug that most of us consume every day but don’t fully understand. The good news is there’s loads of research out there about caffeine, and the even better news is that we’ve summarised all the important stuff for you right here! We want you to understand exactly what’s out there, so you know what’s best for you!
Type 1 – Synthetic Caffeine
Found in traditional energy drinks, gels and pills, synthetic caffeine is artificial caffeine that is manufactured, or synthesised in a lab.
The great thing about synthetic caffeine is it is regulated, so you know how much you’re getting.
The not so great thing about synthetic caffeine is it gets absorbed through the digestive system much faster than naturally occurring plant caffeine (read more here). This means a quicker spike, and of course, a quicker crash. Syntheic caffeine options also tend to come hand-in-hand with unwanted extras such as sugar.
Type 2 – Natural Caffeine
Caffeine is naturally found in coffee, tea, cocoa and approximately 60 other plant species.
The great thing about natural caffeine is it gets slowly released into the bloodstream, providing more sustained energy than the artificial stuff.
The not so great thing about natural caffeine is it is unregulated, so you don’t know how much you’re getting. A single cup of coffee can vary from less than 50mg to over 400mg caffeine! This mean you risk having too little to actually improve your training, or you might have too much (and no one enjoys a caffeine overdose!). We’re all familiar with the times coffee makes you feel totally wired, and other times where it does nothing at all!
There are loads of variables affecting caffeine levels in coffee, including the type of bean, the roast, altitude, the weather, and drying and processing methods. It gets even more complicated when it comes to roast and ground coffee! Grind, water temperature and brewing time all affect the level of caffeine in your cup. There are loads of fascinating studies out there about varying caffeine in coffee, so if you’re interested in learning more, here’s a couple to get you started:
All Coffee Isn’t Created Equal [Lean It Up]