Odd Caffeine Free Side Effect

Since going caffeine free just over a week ago, I have noticed an odd side effect. I’m super hungry. Even though I eat right before I go to bed**, I am getting massively hungry in the middle of the night. I tried to correct for this by eating even more before bed, but it isn’t working so far.

During my waking hours I have been eating more. My body is craving sugar, so I happily have been eating lots of ice cream. One would expect that this would lead to weight gain. It hasn’t. If fact, I’ve dropped a few pounds since this experiment started. So in summary:

  • No Caffeine has resulted in worse sleep. My 8 hours rested is now 6.5 hours tired.
  • More food and sugar has resulted in a few pound weight loss.

Nothing is making sense anymore.

Even though my sleep is still poor, my mornings are getting a little better. One positive  benefit I am seeing is more energy in the afternoon. This is usually the period of the day when I am fighting to stay awake. Yesterday I actually got more productive work done in the PM than the AM. As a morning person, whose first real job was Army Basic Training, I can say that never happens.

I think I will make it 15 days caffeine free.

** Please don’t tell me eating before bad is metabolically damaging. That is nonsense. Read Is Late Night Eating Better for Fat Loss and Health? on Leangains. The best eating schedule is the one that results in the deepest sleep. For me it is having a full belly. 

Caffeine will leave you sleepless by Christian. And in my test, lack of caffeine will as well.


Add yours

  1. Do you have enough data points to have a sense of how have workouts have been going since starting this experiment?

  2. @Geoff – My fitness level feels the same. The only difference is that I’ve decided to back down on the intensity and spend a little longer at the gym. Mostly because the bright lighting is positive for my mood.

  3. “Nothing is making sense anymore.”

    That is how I often feel!

  4. @Chris – I sensed you were feeling that way after reading a recent post.

  5. My feeling is with giving up caffeine our body naturally seeks more stimulating environments of light and activity. Or something more stimulating out of our food, this drive was what kept me looking for chocolate. The caffeine withdrawal leads to our brains seeking some type of adaptation to the loss. But I think nothing makes sense anymore is also not a bad place to be as we are always seeking definitive solutions when life is a mix of things that work sometimes and don’t work at other times. I am reading a wonderful book today called The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman (Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking). Its on stoicism, which is not about denial but working with the reality that things don’t always work out the way we want, but if we can manage our expectations and judgements of reality, things are not as bad they could be. Fascinating read, if you are into resilience in life, I am finding it very entertaining and enlightening.

  6. Well, caffeine is known to interfere with creatine shuttling nutrients into muscles.
    Could it be that you’ve just removed a major stopgap and that your body is now realizing how much food it really needs, considering the way you’re training ?
    It’ll be interesting to see whether you actually are an incorrigible exomorph 🙂

  7. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant. Very useful when your food money is limited. I get ravenously hungry when I take the stimulants out, too, which is one reason I keep putting them back in. I can’t afford to be that hungry for healthy food right now!

  8. @Pauline – Thanks for the book tip. I read a book in that genre in 2010.

    @Michael + @Anemone – That would be interesting to discover that coffee was suppressing my appetite which was limiting my muscular potential. If that turns out to be true, I’ll have a very tough decision to make. 🙂

  9. I think you need more time to see how it turns out. Make a 30day challenge of it. I doubt any period shorter than that will tell you what your body wants reliably. It’s a tough thing to give up on addictions, but others like me have done it before and are alive and thriving 🙂

    There’s no such thing as evening fatigue when you’re properly fed and slept for 7+ hrs straight.

  10. Thanks for the new book recommendation will have a search on it. I like the stoics thoughts on confronting your fears and looking at the worst possible outcome and then noticing that most of these things are not half as bad as we imagine.

  11. @Christian – I suspect you are right and I’m already think about extending the caffeine test. As long as I am seeing a slight improvement in symptoms then my curiosity will push the test longer.

  12. MAS,
    I thought it was “common knowledge” that caffeine was an appetite suppressant. Caffeine is included in many diet pills, and I’ve read many accounts by IF’ers who use coffee (black, or with coconut oil) to get through the fasts. With your vast amount of health (and coffee) knowledge, I’m surprised that you found your increased appetite surprising.
    Good luck!!

  13. @Jim – My real appetite surprise was waking up hungry at 4 AM. The waking part of the day, I understand how caffeine can sometimes suppress appetite, but I can’t explain the middle of the night hunger.

  14. I research a lot on nutrition and the fact that caffeine is an appetite suppressant is news to me. I guess I just never looked up appetite suppressants? Who would have thought.

  15. No point overthinking things. You are doing good by yourself by letting go of an addiction. That’s what matters.

    Btw, ” Please don’t tell me eating before BED is metabolically damaging.”

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