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Food Friday - This is what you did not know about coffee yet

Food Friday - This is what you did not know about coffee yet

Cycling and coffee, two ingredients mixing perfectly it seems. A nice cup of coffee before and/or during a ride is a must according to many cyclists, including our riders. Robert Gesink has, for example, even his own coffee car, The Broomwagon! All those cyclists will recognize the energized feeling after a pit stop during a ride for some ‘black gold’. After reading this Food Friday, you will know exactly where this energized feeling comes from. Sneak peek: it is not directly the caffeine in coffee.

The feeling of getting an energy boost after drinking coffee is a proven effect. Several scientific studies have shown that coffee is an ergogenic (performance enhancing) aid due to the cafeine, but did you know that it isn’t directly the caffeine delivering the energy boost?

Caffeine is taken in quickly in your bodies’ blood circulation and circulates through the body until it reaches, for example, your brains or kidneys. Once it reaches its final destination, caffeine attaches to so-called receptors (receivers). Caffeine has no function in itself, but it takes in the spot on the receptors where another body substance called ‘adenosine’ would have sticked otherwise. This ‘adenosine’ causes you to feel tired. Once caffeine takes in the spot of adenosine, there is no more room for this body substance. You will rather feel awake and alert instead of tired. There are even studies pointing out that the perception of pain and intensity decreases due to this body process. Moreover, the process of energy release by the body is being stimulated. To sum up, the total effect from coffee is that you can push yourself just a little bit more and that can come in handy during a ride! No wonder that many cyclist have some (secret) passion for coffee.

This positive effect of caffeine occurs about 1 hour after consumption, but you will have to drink more than just one cup of coffee. There is proof that 1-3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight already enhances performance (equals 2 to 3 cups of coffee for a person weighing 70kg), but traditional protocols advise 6-9mg per kg of body weight one hour prior to a physical exercise. So if you would drink some coffee and hop onto your bike right away for just a short ride (less than an hour), the coffee will not boost your performance. Although we will not stop you if you just like your coffee moment. We do advise you to keep an eye on the amount of caffeine you consume on a daily basis, because your body can get used to caffeine. If that happens, you will need to drink more to get to that point of a performance enhancement effect. Be aware that caffeine is present in more than just your daily cup of coffee, such as in tea, cacao and several sodas (see the table below for an overview). A rule of thumb is to limit your coffee consumption to 5 cups a day. You will be just fine if you stick to this rule and you will not dehydrate, which is sometimes (falsely) claimed.

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