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Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America's #1 Drug

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  417 ratings  ·  58 reviews
One of the most accomplished nutritional biochemists and medical writers in his field reveals the truth about caffeine and helps you kick the habit forever.

Nearly 80% of all Americans are hooked on caffeine, this country's #1 addiction. A natural component of coffee, tea and chocolate, and added to drugs, soft drinks, candy and many other products, the truth about caffeine
Paperback, 464 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  417 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Pamela Merritt
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book will "open your eyes" about what we've been doing to ourselves with that morning indulgence! This well-researched and well-reasoned book methodically goes through all the reasons caffeine is far from harmless. And he also debunks the myth of moderation. How can we moderate our intake when corporations put caffeine in all kinds of things, like chocolate, and don't even put how much it is on the label?

The author made such a persuasive case for caffeine's addictive and detrimental qualiti
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006
I didn’t think I consumed much caffeine until this book opened my eyes to the fact that there is quite a lot of caffeine in tea, not just coffee and other known sources. My many teas a day habit was contributing to my mood swings. I quit tea and coffee cold turkey (in 2006) and boy did I have a headache for a few days. It is recommended that you reduce your intake gradually but I am a bit of an all or nothing girl so just got it over with. It was worth it, I discovered that it’s possible to go t ...more
Michal Wigal
Jul 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Terrible nonsense. Pyramid scammer and a quack. He has a nonaccredited degree and has been subject to regulatory enforcement.

Half of what he says isn't even real evidence. Lots of faulty science and pulling together studies to show that every malady known to man is due to caffeine when the connections are tenuous at best.

I don't doubt caffeine, especially in excess, can have downsides but don't listen to this guy. He's full of it.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is shelved under the section of "food for thought" in my own library.

I used to drink a pot or two of coffee daily. I stopped drinking coffee for a while after reading this one. In that experiment I was able to realize how strong an influence it has on me. I am mindful about how and when I drink coffee. I warn you, you may feel like kicking the caffeine habit for awhile after reading this one.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lots of science... I learned a lot and will be moving forward without caffeine!
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I kept hearing about this title as a support product for a wean/cessation of caffeine. Crazy to try it, right? I felt it had all the information I needed to make the transition, and while I did feel so bad that I ended up going cold turkey (I wanted it to be over sooner), the book’s data made it much easier to understand.

There was a tendency of the author to blame almost all of our afflictions on caffeine, which may or may not be true, but as a Physician, he does understand the body. It was mot
Jeremy Devin
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a real eye-opener. I’ve been drinking coffee every day for about 5 years now. I thought it was harmless based on a handful of Internet articles, but we all know how trustworthy those can be. This book goes deep into the scientific literature about caffeine’s harmful effects when consumed over a long-term period. Sometimes, the book reads like a sales pitch, but Cherniske is clearly an expert in his field and cites hundreds of sources. I still love coffee; it’s delicious, it’s fun to mak ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After this book, what can you do but quit cafeine? I actually read when in the process of quitting already but this drove the point home.

Drink a lot of coffee and struggle with stress or chronic health issues? This book could make the difference for you.
Adam Crafter
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: public-library
50% facts and interesting data , 50% stress-inducing fear-mongering... You may or may not wish to quit caffeine… If you do there's enough facts and fear in this book to help you quit.

If you don't want to quit caffeine there are also books out there that recommend caffeine and all of its health benefits…

Read both before you decide!
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I quit caffeine before even finishing the introduction of this book. In the midst of new literature about why caffeine is allegedly good for you, I still think Cherniske provides more compelling evidence for why it is not.
Amy Alice
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I want to start out by saying that this is a terribly written book. hALF oF tHE tITLES aRE fORMATTED lIKE tHIS; there are spelling mistakes, random punctuation marks and there is no coherent editing.
It is also, very clearly, a way to pitch his "Off The Bean" scheme for getting off caffeine, and it's very coffee and America heavy. It's also WAY too long.
However, I genuinely believe that caffeine is to mental health what alcohol or smoking is to physical health. And this guy gave me a lot of amm
Dylan Marma
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Author did a great job at going down an extensive list of bodily functions/systems that have either a direct or secondary impact due to caffeine intake. Challenges many commonly accepted viewpoints on the "benefits" or harmlessness on caffeine by referencing back to the original studies as well as exposing many leading caffeine industry players for the lobbying they've done to influence the world around us that caffeine is not bad/possibly good for us.

The biggest takeaway is that caffeine is an
Brent McGregor
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Overwhelming evidence by way of medical studies and market research all wrapped up in one rather large volume. Whether you find your caffeine fix in coffee, soda, power drinks, or pills, the results are still the same.
This has been the go-to book for most health related topics for over fifteen years and is still relevant today.
Without going into adrenal fatigue, depression, obesity, brain problems, and everything else imaginable, caffeine is as much a poison as is sugar -- and just as desirabl
Alex Timofeev
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite a light touch of being preached by the author in his Holy War against caffeine, this book answers all questions about my addition which I earlier addressed to Google. I was shocked to discover each and every health problem from which I’m suffering to be covered in the book. It’s not surprising that nowadays you won’t find this book on shelves among productivity bestsellers, but I believe that every coffee drinker must at least skim across it to understand his body needs and reactions bet ...more
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book and it was amazing to me how much I didn't know about what caffeine does to our bodies. After reading this, I was totally off caffeine for 6 months. But it is a slippery slope and I have slipped to the bottom. Maybe I should reread this, or review my notes from reading it to regain my motivation! ...more
Annemargaret Olsson
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-in-2016
This is my second time reading this book. It really is a wake-up call when you realize how much caffeine affects your body. Now, getting off the caffeine is another story - though the author does layout a plan to help the reader reach this goal as well as providing alternatives to coffee and decaf coffee. The book is very well written - an easy page turner. I highly recommend this book.
David West
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
It's pretty interesting for a technical book on nutrition. The evidence is quite compelling that caffeine and coffee are not good for you and I was convinced to stop drinking coffee, even decaf. I feel much better, sleep better, and have more energy since quitting drinking coffee after having drunk it for about 15 years. ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A very good read that explains a great deal about what caffeine is doing to your body; how you may be ingesting much more of the stuff than you realized; and why it is making you tired, depressed and hurting all over, rather than the opposite. Explains how to get off the stuff as easily as possible.
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm a believer now. I've been off of caffeine for over 3 months now-- a big deal for me!
This book was zealous in its promotion of a caffeine free lifestyle, but I found it informative and motivational.
Feb 06, 2012 added it
Thorough description of the far-reaching effects of caffeine usage. Everyone is aware of the obvious things like jitters and heartburn, but impaired liver function, adrenal exhaustion, hypertension, reduced cerebral circulation... are more concerning.
Michael Hentrich
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! This book is a must read for everyone who drinks coffee, soda, tea, takes medication... actually everyone should just read this. Not reading this book is like driving in the dark with no headlights on. You will be surprised by what you don't know. I was. ...more
Mark Johnson
Good info, lot of typos

I enjoyed the book and got a lot out of it.
I knocked 2 stars for typos on almost every page, with some completely changing the meaning of a sentence. I don't know if this is only present in the kindle version but there's no excuse for it being that bad.
A good read on why coffee and every form of caffeine is bad for you and how to kick the habit in a smooth way.
Kathy Hildebrand
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I was ready to quit caffeine after the intro!
Lucy Stothard
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book. Got me off coffee for six whole months! I'm back on it now. ...more
Traci Styner
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would not be overstating if I said this book changed my life.

I had been feeling tired in the afternoons. My 2-4 large cups of coffee every morning stopped around 10am, and by 3pm I was exhausted. I have a history of insomnia and didn't want to counteract the exhaustion with more caffeine in the afternoon.

A friend recommended Caffeine Blues, and the next day I started cutting back. What really hit me was that caffeine raises cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and I was starting every day with a
Dave Emerald
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wether you use caffeine products or not, Stephen Cherniske’s book, ‘Caffeine Blues’ really covers everything you can think of when it comes to caffeine and how it affects your body. Written in the mid 90’s, this book was before energy drinks and all of today’s crazy, nonsense caffeine products- but it’s still very relevant.

This past year, my caffeine use got out of hand- having about 3 energy drinks a day. I needed some inspiration to cut back- I found this book after a google search. After rea
Yakov Pyatnitskov
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book will open your eyes. Together with another, much shorter book by Allen Carr called "The Easy Way to Quit Caffeine: Live a healthier, happier life" helped me kick-out my long-standing caffeine addiction (including soda and tea, even green).
The book describes negative consequences of drinking old Joe in details and shows how we were fooled by the big manufacturers (mainly Cola and Pepsi producers) to believe that caffeine is practically harmless, which is far from being true.
In short,
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Good cautionary tale about caffeine. It has definitely helped me reduce my intake. I do not recommend his "off the bean" program as I have tried herbal coffee and it tastes NASTY so do not be fooled by this substitute. Also, I argue against his assertions that caffeine causes decreased iron and increases blood pressure. I have no problems with my iron levels or my blood pressure and I drink alot of coffee! I agree with his point about caffeine increasing overall fatigue. No matter how many hours ...more
Nikita Shorikov
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not even worth reading. The idea that you may feel better and be healthier without coffee, especially if you currently drink massive amounts, seems to me to be common sense and at least worth testing a few weeks for anyone interested in improving their health and well being. That said, the book consists of terrible science and the same kind of heavy-handed propaganda that the author criticizes the caffeine lobby for. All evidence is cherry-picked to fit the conclusion that coffee is primarily ba ...more
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