Coffee can make you fat. I know. Some of you will want to block your ears at this information. Sorry, I can't change our biochemistry! Caffeine acts on the adrenal glands by stimulating the production of adrenalin.
When adrenalin is released, your blood sugar elevates to provide more energy, and your blood pressure and pulse rate rise to provide more oxygen to the muscles, which tense in preparation for action.
Your pupils also dilate to see more in less light, and your immune function stops firing as, from the body's perspective, fighting infection is not essential at this unsafe point in time.
Whether your adrenalin production is the result of real or perceived stress, or simply the result of your caffeine intake, caffeine, via stress hormones and coupled with the response of your nervous system, can either lead you to slenderness or fat storage, because insulin--the fat-storage hormone--will firstly convert unused glucose from your blood into glycogen and store it in your muscles. What is left over will be converted into body fat.
When we're stressed or tired and still have a million things to get through each day, we tend to rely on coffee to get us going and then down a couple more to keep us going through the day. But that could be having a greater impact on your body than you may think.
So consider your caffeine habits and get honest with yourself about how it affects you. Does it dull your appetite and so unconsciously you grab a coffee instead of eating? This is especially true for many women at lunchtime. Does it make your heart race, give you the shakes, or loosen your bowels? Does it elevate your blood pressure? Or does it nourish your soul with no ill effect whatsoever? You know yourself better than anyone. Act on what you know is true for you.
Think about all of these mechanisms. So many of us run on adrenalin. Moment to moment, day to day, it's like a light switch has gone on, and it hasn't entirely switched off for a really long time. And it doesn't have to be traumatic stress and shocking situations that drive this process in us. It can simply be the pace at which we live our lives; the juggling act that leads so many people I meet to say that they want more "balance" in their lives. Some people even seek the feeling adrenalin gives them, and they only feel like they are living when adrenalin is pumping through their veins.
The human body is incredibly resilient, and although we were not designed to withstand long-term stress (due to the way we're designed, we are healthier when it is short-lived), many bodies appear to tolerate, as opposed to thrive on, years and years of living on adrenalin.
Part of the challenge, however, is that once your body perceives that the stress has become long-term, your stress hormone output patterns can begin to change, presenting new--and often undesirable--changes to the body. So, do you really want to reach for that third cup of coffee today?