The ultimate in endurance sport is an Ironman triathlon. These athletes swim 2.4 miles, bicycle for 112 miles and then run a marathon of 26.2 miles (140.6 miles total) in one day, so they really need to be prepared. The best do it in about nine hours. We wondered: What do triathletes eat and drink before a race?
It turns out a lot. The typical Ironman athlete burns 7,000 to 10,000 calories on a race day, so they need to really consume a lot of food. They also metabolize a lot of water, so they need to take in copious amounts of fluids on race day.
Recent news about caffeine, pregnancy and miscarriage is kind of confusing. A complex study from the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University linked couple’s consumption of more than two caffeinated beverages a day to a risk of miscarriage. Just to be safe, women trying to conceive and pregnant women should limit caffeine intake.
Balancing sleep, caffeine and alcohol can be like walking the high wire. The National Sleep Foundation calls caffeine and alcohol “sleep stealers.” But studies show they are beneficial in moderate amounts.
6:38 a.m. That hour comes all too early, especially if people were drinking the night before. It’s the time when the average American awakens after an average night of 7 hours and 36 minutes of sleep. And the first thing most people do in the morning is brew a pot of coffee.
A 2015 study of more than 1.2 million people found that folks who drink 3 to 5 cups of black coffee a day have fewer heart problems than those who drink none. People who drink 5 or more cups don’t have any more problems than anyone else.
Two other studies, meta-analyses that collated data from 11 other research articles, found that drinking 2 to 6 cups a day results in a lower risk of stroke disease. One of those meta-studies included data from more than 500,000 participants.
Ten minutes after that first sip of coffee, the subtle but invigorating effects of caffeine kick in, making getting out there and facing the day seem less daunting.
And in a surprising finding, one study found that decaffeinated coffee, which contains only 2 to 3 percent of the caffeine of regular coffee, also contributes (slightly) to a person’s alertness.
We have good news for lovers of America’s two favorite mood-altering substances, caffeine and marijuana: Caffeine may enhance a pot smoker’s high.
The downside is that caffeine can also increase the chance of becoming addicted to cannabis.
The writer, Dan Charles, bought a 4-ounce bag of caffeine and said it had as much caffeine as 1,000 tall Starbucks lattes. He said this caffeine was created in coffee beans on a hillside in the tropics. “Slowly and quietly, driven by the energy of sunlight, it formed inside coffee beans hanging on thousands of trees, most likely in Brazil or Vietnam,” Charles wrote.
“Those beans were harvested, loaded on ships bound for the port of Houston, Texas, and ended up at a factory within sight of downtown Houston: Atlantic Coffee Solutions. It’s owned by one of the world’s largest coffee traders, ECOM Agroindustrial Corp., which is based in Switzerland.”
We have good news and bad news for the 30 to 40 percent of you who promote the efficacious movement of the bowels every morning with a big cup or two of coffee. The good news is, coffee and tea help some people move their bowels. The bad news also is that joe can help you go.
How can that be bad? Because you rely on a chemical to make you regular. Some people report constipation if they don’t get their usual dose of coffee. There don’t seem to be any scientific studies on this effect that are indexed on Google, but there are several anecdotal Web pages where people state stopping coffee cold turkey causes constipation at least temporarily.
About 90 percent of American adults take caffeine daily. Half or more of them are subject to caffeine withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get a fix, including headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, depression and irritability.
This may not seem like much of a problem because caffeine and coffee users are like Charlton Heston and his guns: They’ll give up caffeine when someone takes their coffee from their cold, dead hands.
Coffee was so important in wartime America during World War II that the government rationed it briefly so soldiers could get enough. Coffee was one of four staples for Civil War soldiers, along with beans, beef and hardtack. After Boston Tea Partiers dumped that tea in the harbor during the Revolution, coffee drinkers were considered patriotic.
Coffee can give a soldier the alertness he needs in times of prolonged sleep loss or during dangerous combat situations.
When people think of caffeine, they often think of the coffee beverage or coffee beans, which today are indeed the biggest source of the stimulating chemical in the world. But several popular plants worldwide contain caffeine that have been made into delicious food and drinks from antiquity.
Caffeine can boost athletic stamina and speed so much that the International Olympic Committee once limited how much of it Olympic athletes could take. Caffeine was categorized as a performance-enhancing substance.
The regular athlete might not be able to run a marathon in 2:02.57 like Dennis Kimetto, but maybe after an invigorating jolt of java you can one run just a little bit quicker and burn some fat in the process. Caffeine can improve performance by 1.5 to 3 percent, recent studies show. And the amount needed to give the boost is no more than that in an 8-ounce cup of coffee or an energy drink or two.