Caffeine and your metabolism

Caffeine increases the level of circulating fatty acids. This has been shown to increase the oxidation of these fuels, hence enhancing fat oxidation. Caffeine has been used for years by runners and endurance people to enhance fatty acid metabolism. It’s particularly effective in those who are not habitual users.

Caffeine is not an appetite suppressant. It does affect metabolism, though it is a good question whether its use truly makes any difference during a diet. The questionable rationale for its original inclusion in diet pills was to make a poor man’s amphetamine-like preparation from the non-stimulant sympathomimetic phenylpropanolamine and the stimulant caffeine. (That you end up with something very non-amphetamine like is neither here nor there.) The combination drugs were called “Dexatrim” or Dexa-whosis (as in Dexedrine) for a reason, namely, to assert its similarity in the minds of prospective buyers. However, caffeine has not been in OTC diet pills for many years per order of the FDA, which stated that there was no evidence of efficacy for such a combination.

From Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics:

Caffeine in combination with an analgesic, such as aspirin, is widely used in the treatment of ordinary types of headache. There are few data to substantiate its efficacy for this purpose. Caffeine is also used in combination with an ergot alkaloid in the treatment of migrane (Chapter 39).

Ergotamine is usually administered orally (in combination with caffeine) or sublingually […] If a patient cannot tolerate ergotamine orally, rectal administration of a mixture of caffeine and ergotamine tartarate may be attempted.

The bioavailability [of ergotamine] after sublingual administration is also poor and is often inadequate for therapeutic purposes […] the concurrent administration of caffeine (50-100 mg per mg of ergotamine) improves both the rate and extent of absorption […] However, there is little correspondence between the concentration of ergotamine in plasma and the intensity or duration of therapeutic or toxic effects.

Caffeine enhances the action of the ergot alkaloids in the treatment of migrane, a discovery that must be credited to the sufferers from the disease who observed that strong coffee gave symptomatic relief, especially when combined with the ergot alkaloids. As mentioned, caffeine increases the oral and rectal absorption of ergotamine, and it is widely believed that this accounts for its enhancement of therapeutic effects.

 

Nowadays most of researchers believe that the stimulatory actions are attributable to the antagonism of the adenosine. Agonists at the adenosine receptors produce sedation while antagonists at these sites, like caffeine and theophylline induce stimulation, and what is even more important, the latter substance also reverse agonists-induced symptoms of sedation, thus indicating that this effects go through these receptors.

Another possibility, however, is that methylxanthines enhance release of excitatory aminoacids, like glutamate and aspartate, which are the main stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.

As to the side effects: methylxanthines inhibit protective activity of common antiepileptic drugs in exptl. animals in doses comparable to those used in humans when correction to the surface area is made. It should be underlined, that although tolerance develop to the stimulatory effects of theo or caffeine when administered on a chronic base, we found no tolerance to the above effects . This hazardous influence was even enhanced over time. Therefore, it should be emphasized that individuals suffering from epilepsy should avoid, or at least reduce consumption of coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages.

Nicotine

Nicotine does affect the metabolism of caffeine, and some have suggested it as a way to reduce caffeine levels in your body. The usefulness of this is dubious at best – if your blood pressure is high and you’re experiencing anxiety, adding a stimulant usually isn’t the best idea.

Making chocolate covered espresso beans

You won’t get single, glossy beans, but the taste is there!

  1. Put dark roast coffee beans on a waxpaper-covered baking sheet.
  2. Melt some chocolate by puting a container with the chocolate in a pan of boiling water, stir the chocolate when it is getting hot. Some experimentation regarding what chocolate to use is in place. I used chocolate chips of from Girardelli. One should probably aim for dark and not too sweet chocolate.
  3. Pour the chocolate over the beans and smear it so that each bean is covered – you should have a single layer of covered beans not too far apart.
  4. When the beans have cooled off a little bit, put the sheet in the fridge/freezer.
  5. When solid, break off a piece and enjoy.
  6. Note: You can also use very finely ground coffee for this.

    Another recipe

    A way to get individual chocolate covered coffee beans is to use candy molds.
    Melt some chocolate, and pour a little into each mold. Place individual beans into each mold, then cover with chocolate. Place in freezer until hard.
    Flex the molds to pop the chocolate-beans out. Save the molds for later.

    An alternative is to mix a little bit of peanut butter with chocolate. Mini-Reese cups with a bit more pizzazz.

How to make your own chocolate

Here’s the recipe for making a real chocolate beverage. Important steps are in boldface.

Ingredients

  • 1-2kg (2-4pounds) of cocoa beans.
  • A manually operated grinder.

Instructions

  • Sift through the beans removing any impurities (pieces of grass, leaves, etc).
  • Place the beans in a pan (no teflon) and roast them. Stir frequently. As the beans roast they start making “pop” sounds like popcorn. Beans are ready when you estimate that approx 50-75% of the beans have popped. Do not let the beans burn, though a bit of black on each bean is ok.
  • Peel the beans. Peeling roasted cocoa beans is like peeling baked potatoes: The hotter they are the easier it is to peel the darn things, at the expense of third degree burns on your fingers. (Tip: Use kitchen mittens and brush the beans in your hands). If the beans are too hard to peel roast them a bit longer.
  • Grind the beans into a pan. They produce a dark oily paste called “cocoa paste”.
  • The oil in the cocoa has a bitter taste that you have to get used to. I like it this way, but not all people do. Here are the alternatives:

    With oil, which gives you a richer flavour:

    Spread aluminum foil on a table and make small pies of chocolate, about 1/4 of an inch high, and 6 inches in diameter. Let them rest overnight. The morning after they are hard tablets. Remove them from the aluminum foil and rap them in it. Store in the freezer.

    Without oil, some flavour is gone, less bitter, weaker (whimper) chocolate:

    Put the paste inside a thin cloth (like linen), close the cloth and squeeze until the oil comes out. If you manage to get most of the oil out, what is left is high quality cocoa powder, like Droste’s.

    What is left now is either bitter tablets or bitter cocoa powder.

You can now make a nice beverage as follows:

  • Boil a liter of milk (or water, like in ancient Mexican style. Like water for chocolate, “Como agua para chocolate”: you know).
  • When the milk is warm (not hot) add a chocolate pie in pieces. Stir with a blender (but be careful! the blender’s electric cord should NOT touch the pot or any other hot thing around it).
  • When the chocolate has dissolved add 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar (depending how sweet you like your chocolate) and blend in fast. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved in the chocolate otherwise it would be bitter no matter how much sugar you may add afterwards.
  • Add a teaspoon of cinnamon or natural vanilla flavour (artificial vanilla flavour with chocolate results in an awful medicine like flavour) if you like, and blend again.
  • Let the mixture boil, when it starts to get bubbly quickly remove the pan from the stove top, and rest the bottom against a soaked cloth. Put again on stove top, it should get bubbly almost immediately, remove once again and repeat one last time. This aerates the chocolate which enhances flavour.
  • In a mug, put about 1/2-3/4 of the chocolate mixture, and add cold milk, until the temperature and/or the concentration of the flavour is right for your tastes. Accompany with French Pastries. Yum Yum!!

Enjoy!

See also Misadventures of Home Cocoa Bean Roasting

List of Contributors

This FAQ is a collective effort. Here’s a list of most of the contributors. I appologize to the contributors who have been left out.

Oktay Ahiska
Marc Aurel
Scott Austin
Tom Benjamin
Jennifer Beyer
Steve Bliss
David Alan Bozak
Rajiv
Trevor P. Bugera
Jack Carter
Richard Drapeau
Jym Dyer
Steve Dyer
Stefan Engstrom
Lemieux Francois
Scott Fisher
Dave Huddle
Matt Humphrey
Tom F Karlsson
Bob Kummerfeld
Dr. Robert Lancashire
John Levine
Alex Lopez-Ortiz
Alec Muffett
Dana Myers
Tim Nemec
Mike Oliver
Jim Pailin
Dave Palmer
Stuart Phillips
Siobhan Purcell
Cary A. Sandvig
Jesse T Sheidlower
Stepahine da Silva
Michael A Smith
Mari J. Stoddard
Thom
Deanna K. Tobin T.E.
Nick Tsoukas
Adam Turoff
Ganesh Uttam
David R. B. Walker
Orion Wilson
Piotr Wlaz
Ted Young
Steven Zikopoulos
Susan Smith
Kevin Mackie
Oktay Ahiska
Marc Aurel
Scott Austin
Tom Benjamin
Jennifer Beyer
Steve Bliss
David Alan Bozak
Rajiv
Trevor P. Bugera
Jack Carter
Richard Drapeau
Jym Dyer
Steve Dyer
Stefan Engstrom
Lemieux Francois
Scott Fisher
Dave Huddle
Matt Humphrey
Tom F Karlsson
Bob Kummerfeld
Dr. Robert Lancashire
John Levine
Alex Lopez-Ortiz
Alec Muffett
Dana Myers
Tim Nemec
Mike Oliver
Jim Pailin
Dave Palmer
Stuart Phillips
Siobhan Purcell
Cary A. Sandvig
Jesse T Sheidlower
Stepahine da Silva
Michael A Smith
Mari J. Stoddard
Thom
Deanna K. Tobin T.E.
Nick Tsoukas
Adam Turoff
Ganesh Uttam
David R. B. Walker
Orion Wilson
Piotr Wlaz
Ted Young
Steven Zikopoulos
Donald N. Schoenholt
Mark Prince
Chris Schaefer
Daniel Owen
David Turnbull
Stephen Schreck
Peter
Scott
Ross Jaburg
Alan Frew
Jon Thomas
Sean Maguire
Tom Owen
Scott
Osvaldo Colavin
Ollie Broad
Harry R. Meyer
Karen Lundy
Thong Ly
David L
Ashley Lang
Jen
Fonz
Ian Thomas
Colin Lim
Ken Wilson
Freddie Cash
Don Gingrich
Don McEwewen