COFFEE TALK: Why Coffee is Detrimental To Metabolism, and What to Drink Instead

If you feel like your body needs a caffeine boost, there are scientific reasons why you should nurture your metabolism instead!

I study constantly, and there was a really cool study published in an academic journal, “Frontiers in Psychology.” This NIH- supported study is called the Safety of Ingested Caffeine—a Comprehensive Review. It classifies coffee as the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world, and the most comprehensively studied ingredient in the food industry. 

We study a lot of red dye, yellow dye, things we call obesogens—chemicals that we don’t metabolize that are used as food additives and preservatives, but caffeine was at the top of the top as far as what has been studied. 

Caffeine and caffeine uptake can really affect the rate of the effectiveness of the P-450 metabolic pathway, which converts cholesterol into the master hormone pregnenolone. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and can be found in all body fluids, saliva, even cerebrospinal fluid. So think about the fact that it can migrate into all tissues of your body and even into the brain. 

When I was studying what nutrients would make that pathway more effective for my Metabolism Shake, I looked at caffeine clearance tests to see how quickly the liver cleared it, and that would help us determine how effective the P-450 pathway was working. I found caffeine specifically from coffee really slowed that pathway. 

Steroid hormones—estrogen, progesterone, testosterone—can be affected by caffeine and caffeine metabolism. In women, this slows the metabolism and can be very concerning during pregnancy and infancy. In the vascular system, caffeine can affect vasoconstriction.

We want to couple the attributes of caffeine with nutrient-dense ingredients like raw cacao, or Matcha, a caffeine extract from green tea. These can be combined to nurture the adrenal glands, because of the high nutrient density and the rate of increased delivery through the blood-brain barrier and the tissues throughout the body. 

As a crop, coffee is allowed to bypass a lot of the regulatory systems in the U.S. that don’t allow certain plant-based chemicals. So from an agricultural perspective, it’s even dirtier than soy and corn. Think about the fact that caffeine allows those chemicals to permeate the blood-brain barrier, your cerebral spinal fluid, and all the tissues of the body. And remember that if it’s not nutrient-dense, it can slow your metabolism!

So let’s talk alternatives:

  • One that’s been around a long, long time is Pero. I grew up drinking this. It’s made of malted barley, chicory, and rye—that’s it. The only thing is it’s not certified gluten-free. But it will have a lot less than if you had a “red” product that’s glutenized. 

  • I also like Teeccino. As of now, their flavors are not corn-derived. But always watch labels for changes. They have hazelnut, matcha, chocolate, and a french roast and they are all super, super good. Teeccino is not certified gluten-free, but the company says independent lab tests cannot detect it. You can buy gluten strips to test anything for detectable gluten if you’re celiac.

  • Probably my favorite coffee alternative is Dandy Blend. I use this in my chia puddings to make it a “mocha sicle.” It’s roasted dandelion, and it’s really nurturing for the adrenals and the kidneys. 

  • Nut Pods. These are flavorings with a little bit of sweetening. They have lecithin, and just always check to make sure it’s sunflower lecithin—not soy-derived. Currently, they don’t use corn-derived thickeners, so I really like these to sweeten. 

  • Stevia: Turn the product around and make sure yours is pure Stevia. There’s one called Stevia that’s so good, and so clean. They get the raw ingredient close to the equator for sweeter leaves. Be careful of products like Stevia in the Raw, which has dextrose. There’s some junky stuff out there. 

  • I also do well with birch or hardwood based Xylitol. Be careful, it is toxic to dogs. 

  • The other thing is luo han guo, or monk fruit. These are totally fine as long as it’s pure monk fruit with nothing added like dextrose or erythritol. 

When getting off of coffee, you might experience headaches or fatigue, due to its effect on vasoconstriction and your P-450 pathway. If you do, consider ginkgo tea to help with vasodilation, or feverfew, which is good for caffeine withdrawal headaches. Metabolism Energy is phenomenal too, with the nitric oxide for oxygen delivery. Take that in the morning and Metabolism Stress in the afternoon to nurture your adrenals.