• Zoe Williams

how to have a caffeine detox.

I’m sorry to say that I have a cup of coffee next to me as I write this. I say this, not to put you off your caffeine detox - I have had many successful ones myself - but to acknowledge that we’re all human and that it is perfectly okay to enjoy a good cup of coffee now and then. It is simply a case of moderation.

Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re already aware that your caffeine habit has reached new heights and are looking to dial it back. Alternatively, if symptoms of increased anxiety, insomnia, poor digestion, and headaches sound familiar, you may want to keep reading. Either way, as many of us return to our busy lives it is important to keep our health and our caffeine intake under control.


why is too much caffeine bad for you?

Caffeine is a stimulant that affects you central nervous system which is why it makes us feel more alert. However, because caffeine is an addictive substance, a cycle can develop where increased amounts of caffeine are needed to maintain the high it creates. Due to differences in metabolism the amount of coffee you should consume will vary between individuals. However, going over the recommended 400mg of caffeine a day will have long term effects.


These include:


- Headaches

- Nausea

- increased blood pressure

- increased anxiety

- Insomnia

- Digestive Issues


how to detox.

It’s important to acknowledge that a caffeine detox is not a quick fix or supplement for a healthy and well-balanced diet. Cutting out caffeine for a short period may result in equally unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and irritability. No one wants their head bitten off on a Monday morning because you’ve decided to renounce coffee altogether, and have turned up to work in the manner of a grizzly bear emerging from hibernation. Instead, you need to allow two to three weeks to gradually reduce your caffeine in-take. This is sometimes known as the ‘Weaning Method’ and is the recommended approach for taking a detox.


step 1.

Figure out how much caffeine you’re ingesting on a daily basis. If you’re already under the recommended daily intake (400mg) you’re doing a good job, but remember caffeine is also present in other substances such as tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some medications.


Once you’re aware of your caffeine intake you can look for areas to cut down. The recommended amount is 10-30mg less every day until a zero or minimal caffeine amount is reached. If you really can’t face the day without your morning coffee, then don’t! But if that cheeky Starbucks on the way home isn’t vital, leave it out.


step 2.

Make small adjustments such as ordering a small cup of coffee instead of a large (your heart and your wallet will thank you for it) or try using a smaller coffee mug at home. Be careful not to compensate for this by indulging in syrups or sugars as these will disrupt your blood sugar levels.


step 3.

Find alternative, and healthier, ways to boost your energy levels. Whilst caffeine is a tried and tested way of giving ourselves a quick boost there are numerous ways of increasing your energy levels without caffeine:

  1. Create an evening routine and get enough sleep. Try leaving your blinds or curtains open for a natural sunshine alarm that will help wake you up just as easily as an espresso.

  2. Stretch and exercise regularly. When you’re active your body produces more mitochondria (the powerhouse of cells) to produce the necessary energy to meet this exertion. In short, the more energy you use, the more energy your body makes available.

  3. Drink lots of water and experiment with different herbal teas. Your brain function is highly influenced by your hydration levels so drinking the right amount of water will aid your mood and mental performance. Herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger and peppermint contain no caffeine as they’re made from dried flowers, leaves, seeds and roots.


caffeine intake chart.

1 mug filter coffee - 140mg caffeine

1 mug instant coffee - 100mg caffeine

1 can energy drink - 80mg caffeine

1 mug tea - 75mg caffeine

Can cola - 40mg caffeine

small bar of chocolate - 40mg


cutting down.

Coffee - reduced by 1/4 of a cup every two to three days

Energy drinks - reduced by 1/4 a can every two to three days

Soda - reduced by cutting back 1/2 can every two to three days

Tea - reduced by cutting back 1/2 cups every two to three days

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