For a substance taken so routinely every day by people all over, is it crazy for caffeine to be banned from the Olympics? For the past 30 years or so, coffee has been on and off the ‘banned substances’ list due to its performance-enhancing effects, determined by the World Anti-Doping Agency. (WADA)
Why Coffee Used To Be Banned From The Olympics
According to researchers:
- Caffeine increases the migration of reserved fats in the bloodstream, making them available during strenuous exercise and leaving a higher level of reserved glycogen in the muscles/liver.
- As a result, athlete’s burn fat during a significant portion of their competition while providing them with a quick and readily available source of energy.
- Caffeine can also improve focus and reaction time, which are very important for many Olympic events.
In 2004, WADA began allowing caffeine once again, however, still considering caffeine to be performance enhancing. Regulating an acceptable amount of caffeine in each athlete’s bloodstream is a bit tricky, being something that millions of people enjoy as part of their daily routine. Caffeine is also metabolized at different rates by different people, making it difficult to truly determine the pattern of caffeine use in a certain individual based on blood work.
Luckily, running the risk of penalizing athletes for normal caffeine consumption, restrictions were dropped. Better to expect a little boost during an event than to encounter the human body without their caffeine. The lesson: ditch that chemical-ridden pre-workout and grab a java before heading to the gym.