I drink hot tea every day, and my choices vary depending on my mood or the time of day. In the morning I’ll have decaffeinated green tea flavored with fruit essence (mango and pomegranate being my favorites), at night I’ll drink chamomile several times a week, and in between I’m partial to Earl Grey or Harney & Son’s Paris blend. Tea is fantastic for the new low-carber for a couple of reasons. For one, there are no carbs in tea! And two, it fills your stomach in between meals – critical when you’re starting a regimen and ridding your body of carb cravings or whatever else you’re giving up.
However, when I drink coffee, I can almost skip a meal – and I never skip meals. Give me a grande decaf drip with room for heavy cream, and I can skip breakfast. I have to believe that there is a fundamental difference between hot coffee and hot tea, so I decided to investigate.
I found evidence to the contrary of what I just stated above.
Atkins and other lifestyle eating programs strongly advocate that caffeine should either be completed removed from your diet or at least severely limited. Caffeine can interrupt with your sleep levels, but it can also trigger sugar cravings. Drinking caffeinated coffee on an empty stomach can be damaging to your stomach lining, and if you include coffee as one of the liquids you are tracking to consume, you will probably end up being dehydrated. There exist a host of health concerns, some of which you can read here and here at Mark’s Daily Apple.
So now I’m really confused. I drink 100 ounces of water a day – give or take 8 ounces. I drink decaffeinated coffee and primarily decaffeinated teas. I put 1-2 ounces of heavy cream in my coffee and never use a sugar-substitute (it’s all about the cream for me). And I also need to consumer quite a bit of food to fill this nearly 6-foot tall frame. But I’m still not hungry after drinking a big mug of coffee with cream.
I don’t think it’s wise to use hot beverages as a regular trick to fool your stomach and mind into thinking you’ve had a meal. After all, your body does need proper food to keep it functioning. But I do occasionally find myself in situations where if I can’t participate in whatever food orgy is occurring around me, I can indulge in a generous cup of creamy coffee. And then I don’t feel so left out, or worse – diving in to something I shouldn’t.
While my research resulted in a big goose egg, I will continue to use decaffeinated coffee with cream as an end-of-day treat or at luncheons when the dessert course is being served.
How about you – do you have any tricks for staying the course? Does coffee inhibit your ability to deal with cravings?