Water, Energy & Caffeine

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JOHN PETROZZI: Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy with John and Josh. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSH HARPER: And I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: Thanks for joining us today on our show. As you know, our show is all about health and wellness. Today, we’re going to be talking about all those liquid things we put into our mouth, namely water, and we’re going to be making a bit of comparison between drinking tap water, bottled water, and filtered water.

JOSH HARPER: Oh, great.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. It’s going to be good. Then, we’ll also talk about those energy drinks that most people drink, and also, caffeine.

JOSH HARPER: Okay. And we’ll talk about the effects, too?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. We’ll talk about the effects, and also, what these things are doing to us, both benefits and drawbacks.

JOSH HARPER: So what is it with water, John? Why is it so essential for us?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, our bodies are made up of about 80-85% of water. So if we become dehydrated, it’s going to affect our health in a big way. So it just really comes down to where we’re getting our water from, whether we get it from the tap or a filter or from bottles.

JOSH HARPER: I’ve always wondered what the difference was, if there was any.

JOHN PETROZZI: Oh, yeah, great. We’ll talk about that stuff now, actually.

Well, in water, for instance, in tap water, there’s mainly water in there, and there’s also traces of heavy metals, like lead and copper.

JOSH HARPER: And where do they come from?

JOHN PETROZZI: They come from pipes where the water is transported through. So the pipes in Sydney have been here for a while, and the copper starts to leach out of the pipes and into the water, and we drink those. In high levels, they can be very detrimental to our health.

JOSH HARPER: So the water company doesn’t put in any metals in there?

JOHN PETROZZI: No, they don’t put metals in there. It just comes from the pipes.


JOHN PETROZZI: There’s also fluoride in there, which is added in by the water board.

JOSH HARPER: And why do we need that?

JOHN PETROZZI: The fluoride’s in there to strengthen the enamel on our teeth. It was added a long time ago by the Food and Drug Administration to try and protect our teeth from rotting.


JOHN PETROZZI: And there’s also chlorine in there. The chlorine is in there, too, basically to disinfect the water and kill off any microbes and germs. So that’s what we’ve got in our tap water.

JOSH HARPER: Is chlorine bad for us?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, in high doses, when we drink that stuff.

JOSH HARPER: Yeah. Not the levels that-

JOHN PETROZZI: In the levels in the water, no. they say they’re in healthy range.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. But actually, sometimes, I’m not too sure if you’ve smelt it, but on some days, I can actually pour a glass of water from the tap and my nose could actually smell a bit of chlorine in the water.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. So just keep your eye out for next time. I think what happens, maybe sometimes, they actually add more chlorine because the water’s not as pure as it should be possibly. I’m not too sure but I suppose we can do a Google search on that.

Charcoal water filters are really good. I’ve got one on our tap at home.

JOSH HARPER: So do you get those installed on your taps?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. It’s just like a big cylinder that gets inserted into the tap and it comes off it. I love drinking from this.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. The water tastes different. I like it.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. I really like it. So generally, in the filters, you’ve got either charcoal in there, or other sorts of rock substances that help you drain and filter out the water. What they’re filtering out is basically all those heavy metals in the water, so copper, traces of lead, and all those sorts of things that our pipes tend to leach out into the water.

Another thing that they take out of the water is the chlorine. Some other filters try to take the fluoride out of the water, as well. In essence, you’re just getting pure water coming out of the tap.

JOSH HARPER: Okay. Would you prefer the charcoal, because you still get the fluoride?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. I do, because we’re still getting the benefit of fluoride, like you said, for our teeth, but it’s extracting the heavy metals and chlorine out of the water.

Then, we’ve got bottled water, which comes from the spring and can be bought from any sort of shop, convenience store, petrol stations. It’s also the same water that comes in those big containers in the offices.

JOSH HARPER: The water cooler?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, the water cooler. So in those basically, that’s just water coming out of a cave deep down in the earth and doesn’t have any traces of lead or copper because the water hasn’t been transported through a pipe. They just basically put a big pipe down there and suck the water up and bottle it. in that water, there are traces of fluoride, because in nature, you actually find fluoride in small traces in the water anyway.

But the thing is that they don’t add any extra fluoride into spring water; they’re not allowed to. But there’s been some talk recently about the government’s trying to, some form of fluoride into the spring water because the use of spring water is actually increasing by about 10% every year. So if that trend continues, pretty soon, people will stop drinking tap water and will only be drinking spring water or filtered water.

JOSH HARPER: So you’re saying more people will buy bottled water?

JOHN PETROZZI: Bottled water, yeah. Or because if they’re in the offices, all they’ve got access to is the water cooler.

So the basic differences between all those forms of water all just comes down to which one’s easier to drink and which is more accessible for you. If you’re in an office that doesn’t have a tap, then you really can’t be drinking tap water. You’re stuck with drinking either the spring water, which is really good for you, or bringing your own bottled water from outside.

JOSH HARPER: So what is the best to drink, John? What do you prefer?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, Josh, what it comes down to is just personal preference and how fast you are about drinking heavy metals. Because in essence, your body is a filter in itself and you can pour things into your mouth that do contain heavy metals and chlorine and all those sorts of things, and your body is going to filter that out on its own.


JOHN PETROZZI: But it does take energy and it does take resources to feed your body to filter out those things. But the thing is that it can do it. So if you do drink something that’s got heavy metals from the tap, it’s okay because your body will get rid of them. In high doses, though, just bear in mind they will deposit in your nervous system.

So for instance, here’s a classic example. You know the old paint on buildings, those paints used to contain lead for binding to the walls. They don’t have lead in paint anymore. So if you’re scraping paint off a wall or sanding that paint down that contain lead in it and you breathe that lead in or that paint dust in, over time, or over a couple of weeks of doing that, that lead is actually going to deposit in your body, because it’s actually pretty high dose of lead and you’ll suffer from lead poisoning. That’s a neurotoxin or a toxic chemical to the brain that can produce irritability, anxiety, even mental disorders over time as well.

So the traces of heavy metals in water are very, very miniscule, and your body will tend to get rid of those very quickly. Water isn’t one of those sources of lead or copper poisoning that you’ll come across in life, so it’s fine to drink.

The filtered water is a really good source of water because it’s taking out those heavy metals. It’s also taking out the chlorine as well which has been added in there as a disinfectant. But it still does have traces of fluoride in there which is good for healthy teeth enamel.

Then we’ve got the bottled water, which is very pure source of water which comes deep down from water caves. Sometimes, it can have a tinge of—because I know the water that we get in the office at work—has a tinge of dirt in there or clay.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Because our water is basically filtered through sandstone, because that’s what we have around here in Sydney, and we can sort of taste that. So if you don’t like the taste of it, go for filtered water or tap water. If you got a very sensitive palate, you might be able to taste or smell the chlorine in the tap water, so if you don’t like that, go for the other sources.

But when it comes down to it, as long as the source of water is clean and reliable, your body needs it, so you need to be drinking about six to eight glasses of water each day to be supplementing your body so you don’t go through dehydration.

Also, just avoid drinking water from your hose because the water that’s been sitting in the hose would have plastic just leached out from the hose into the water. It’s not good for you; it’s like a poison. And also, the end of the tap may have been sitting in a bucket or you may have been doing cleaning up gutters or cleaning up the pool and water would have sucked back into the end of it and if you drink that, they can contain a lot of E. coli and other bacteria that shouldn’t be going into your mouth.


JOHN PETROZZI: So just be careful where you drink the water from. Don’t drink it out of a hose. Just get a glass, like every regular person drinking out of a tap or the other sources that we’ve talked about. So I hope that was useful.

When we come back, we’re going to talk about energy drinks, whether they’re good for you or not. So stick with us.


JOSH HARPER: Hi. Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh. Today, we’re talking all about drinks. So far, we’ve discussed water, but now, let’s talk about energy drinks, John.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yup. We should talk about energy drinks because there are lots of products out there, and there are kids, teenagers, adults drinking them, a whole spectrum of people. The marketing behind these things is so powerful and strong that people seem to get a bit of a buzz or a kick out of just holding on to these cans.

JOSH HARPER: Do you drink them, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: No, I don’t. I wouldn’t touch them. I know what’s in them. Not to say that not all people can drink them because in moderation, anything is okay for you. But we’ll talk about them today, anyway, and you, guys, can make up your mind.

With energy drinks, the reason why I sort of back off a little is because they’ve got high doses of caffeine in them and other chemicals as well that as stimulants. When you put the two things—caffeine or stimulants—next to children, it’s not a good combination because the child’s nervous system is developing up to the age of about mid-20s.

Particularly caffeine, when we talk about caffeine, again, when we come back from the next break after we talk about energy drinks, caffeine is one of those neurotoxins or stimulants which is actually classified as a drug that stimulates the nervous system into becoming more active. Again, in moderation, it’s fine. But with energy drinks, people tend to drink them quite often because they feel that it gives them a buzz, or the perception through their marketing is that it gives you a buzz and increases your stamina, activity, and all those sorts of things, and makes you a super human person.

JOSH HARPER: And you can tell they can’t be that good for you, where it says “Do not exceed four drinks a day.”

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly right. Yeah. And they need to put those warnings on them, because when you start to exceed those levels, your body does start to go into a shock phase where it’s trying to get rid of those toxins in a big way, and your body becomes frustrated in the sense that it can suffer from anxiety, and over time, long terms of use of this stuff can lead to depression, and so can caffeine.


JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. So let’s talk about them. What’s in one of these energy drinks? Basically, there’s caffeine, there’s stuff called “taurine,” and there’s another one called called glucoronolactone.

JOSH HARPER: And what’s taurine and glucoronolactone?

JOHN PETROZZI: Both of those actually naturally occur in our body in small doses. Taurine is basically an amino acid which helps to build protein in our body. That’s where the marketing companies get into and they say, “Oh, we’ve got taurine in there which is going to help you build muscle.” Sometimes, people get stuck into that and they start having these energy drinks after a big white session or an exercise session, because they’ve got the perception that it’s going to increase their muscle mass.

JOSH HARPER: And will it?

JOHN PETROZZI: No, it won’t, because you’ve got- well, I won’t say no because it will; yet, the other ingredients in the energy drink are caffeine which is going to dehydrate the body severely. After an exercise session or a white session, the last thing you want to be doing is dehydrating your body further.

JOSH HARPER: Right, because then it can’t repair.

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly. Yeah. That’s taurine. And some people have got an allergy to taurine as well, so be careful when you’re drinking these things.

The other thing that they claim taurine does in an energy drink is it also helps to detoxify the body and cleanse the body of harmful substances. So in a sort of long shot sort of way, it does do that, but not in the combination that it’s given to you in an energy drink.

Then you’ve got that glucose stuff, which is glucoronolactone. It also naturally occurs in the body and it’s basically a natural form of carbohydrate; it’s formed when glucose is broken down. They put that into the energy drink to try and give your body a quick energy boost. Because glucose really doesn’t need to be broken down into this glucose stuff, because they’ve broken it down for you in the energy drink. So by consuming the energy drink, it gives you a quick boost of energy or perceived energy boost because you don’t have to break that glucose down into simple sugar, because the drink’s done it for you.

And then the other chemical form that’s in there is caffeine which is not naturally occurring but is normally found in plants, teas, and those sorts of things. Caffeine, yes, is a stimulant, and it’s a stimulant to your nervous system. It basically makes the messages shoot down nerve cells and nerve neurons much quicker.

JOSH HARPER: Do you know how much more caffeine is in a regular shot of coffee?

JOHN PETROZZI: It contains about three cups of coffee.

JOSH HARPER: In one drink?

JOHN PETROZZI: In one drink.

JOSH HARPER: And the other stuff on top?

JOHN PETROZZI: Plus the other stuff on top, yeah. So for instance, if we’re going to compare an energy drink, like Red Bull or Impulse, or there’s another one called Naughty Boy, that’s got about 80-88mg of caffeine in there, compared to like Coca-cola or Pepsi that’s got 44mg[u1] of caffeine, so it’s double already. I think in the average cup of coffee, you’ve got about 40mg of caffeine in there as well.


JOHN PETROZZI: So in an energy drink, you’re looking at an equivalent to about two to three cups of coffee in a drink.

JOSH HARPER: I’ve just noticed here a funny thing saying, “Diet Coke, caffeine-free” has 2mg in there.

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s right. So they still can’t get away from caffeine because they still have to add the extra 2mg in there in the caffeine-free Diet Coke. They have sort of sucked most of the caffeine out of it, but there’s 2mg in there.

What are the other health effects in energy drinks? Because there are some, but there’s not enough currently known about energy drinks to actually put up a sign saying, “Drink energy drinks to get these health benefits.” So they need to do their homework still with them, because their drinks are marketed as healthy alternative or they are fun and youthful sort of drink, people tend to get carried away with them and just drink too many of them. That’s where it comes down to: everything in moderation. That’s the same with coffee, alcohol, and with these energy drinks as well.

So with the energy drinks, for instance, just keep them away from children.

JOSH HARPER: Why do you say that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Because their nervous system is still developing. And just get down to the cell, if you can picture a nerve cell. Basically, it’s got a nucleus, a cell body, and all these little fibers coming off like a big sunburst. It’s got one long tail, like the tail of a lizard, and at the end, it’s got another little starburst. Basically, what that thing is a one-way stream of electricity going down the nerve.

So if we’re dumping a whole lot of caffeine or taurine or glucose stuff, which is present in energy drinks, then it’s going to speed up the current that goes down the neuron. And if we’re speeding up the current that goes down the neuron, it can sometimes—or often—fatigue the nerve cell and cause it to die. So a nerve cell death isn’t a happy thing, and it happens with high doses of energy drinks and caffeine. It will also happen with high doses of alcohol.

Once that cell dies, they used to say that once nerve cells are dead, they don’t repair. But in actual fact, we do know that nerve cells are quite plastic. The neighbors of the cell will overgrow the areas and they’ll take up the job of that dead cell, because the body still needs to function at a high level.

JOSH HARPER: And are there any other people who need to limit their intake, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Pregnant women need to limit or avoid energy drinks totally, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, which is the first three months, because high doses of caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage, as well as difficult birth and delivery. It can result in the production of a low-weight baby as well.

JOSH HARPER: Whoa! That’s very extreme.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Another group would be people who drink alcohol.

JOSH HARPER: Why is that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Because a combination of alcohol and energy drinks can have detrimental effects and produce dehydration. But also, people who drink cocktails with a combination of those two together, and if they’re drinking loads of those, they’re not just getting drunk, but they’re also getting intoxicated with the chemicals and the caffeine.


JOHN PETROZZI: So it can result in seizures. I’m talking high doses here, but that can happen when people go out and binge-drink.

JOSH HARPER: Do you know the drink “Jagerbomb”? It combines a shot of jager, which is alcohol and Red Bull energy drink. So, you know, it would happen pretty often.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Especially people are binging on this stuff, too, and they’re drinking lots of them in one night, and that can happen. What will happen when those two combine is it can produce a seizure. The seizure can then result in you stop breathing and then death. So that’s the extreme.

JOSH HARPER: How extreme is that?

JOHN PETROZZI: It can happen a couple of times a year, I’d say, but still, it happens in Australia, I’d say. You combine those things together and people do stuff and die from these things. So with any alcohol or energy drinks, just drink them in moderation, and same with caffeine.

JOSH HARPER: Are there any other people that need to watch out?

JOHN PETROZZI: Active sports people as well. So if you’ve been training—you just finished training and you’re sweating; it’s been a big workout—don’t go drinking an energy drink because that will dehydrate you make you susceptible to fatigue.

So with energy drink, do it in moderation; do go overboard with them. Don’t get sucked into the marketing that tells you that these energy drinks will give you more energy and more stamina, because they will at a certain dose, but exceeding that dose, it will just be detrimental to your health. So drink with caution.

When we come back, let’s talk about caffeine.


JOSH HARPER: Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh. Today, we’re talking all about drinks. So far, we’ve spoken about energy drinks and water.

Now, John, I drink coffee most days. What is caffeine, first of all?

JOHN PETROZZI: Caffeine is commonly occurring in nature. It’s basically found in plants, the leaves and beans of coffee, tea plants, some spices. So it’s out there in plants. Humans extract it and form that generally lovely drink that most people drink which is coffee and tea.


JOHN PETROZZI: Reasonable doses, anything less than 3 cups of coffee a day, they call that “mild” consumption. Research shows that consumption doesn’t have ill effects or side effects to our bodies.

JOSH HARPER: Can coffee be good for you?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Well, in some instances, they have also found benefits in coffee that it helps long term to actually, I think, maintain blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. So it’s heart and cardiovascular protective as well. Yet, the flipside of that is in high doses, they say that it’s actually bad for you. It’s bad for the heart because it can produce things like increases in blood pressure, and in high doses, strokes and those sorts of things.


JOHN PETROZZI: But we’re talking high, high doses, though, and I don’t think people would drink the equivalent of like 30 cups of coffee a day—I hope not, anyway—because in those doses, it does become very detrimental to your health.

JOSH HARPER: I think you could feel that in a short time as well.

JOHN PETROZZI: You would. Yeah. And actually, long-term effects of that would be depression. So we’ll talk a bit more about that as we go on, but basically, caffeine is found in coffee, tea, Kola nut (which is basically a nut that’s found in the nut of a Kola nut tree in Africa), cocoa pod (which is the seed pod of the cocoa plant, also found in West Africa or in Brazil), and guarana paste (which is found in the seeds of guarana plants).

JOSH HARPER: And that’s what they use in some of those drinks?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. In guarana drinks, guarana tea, guarana chewing gum – you can find it in lots of things. That’s the thing with plant extracts, when they find that people like it because it gives them a buzz or a lift, sometimes companies do go overboard and stack drinks with them. Like we spoke about before with energy drinks, they’re stacking these drinks with caffeine, because people know that it does give them a buzz or a lift, but they’re going over the top with them some of the time.

Actually, in the break before, we’re talking about energy drinks. Some of the new energy drinks coming on the market, they’re trying to put the extract of opium poppy seed in there.

JOSH HARPER: And what were you saying about that?

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s ephedrine. It’s a derivative of “speed.”

JOSH HARPER: And is it addictive?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, in forms like that, it can become highly addictive.


JOHN PETROZZI: So it’s good to read the labels, just with energy drinks or with colas, whatever it is, even soft drinks. Just look at the label and see what’s in there, because some of the time, the worst thing that they’ve got is just high doses of sugar, for instance, like 6-7 teaspoons of sugar. But other times, with energy drinks, they’ve got high doses of caffeine and like we just found out, opium or poppy seed extract, which is ephedrine. So if you’ve got kids, don’t give it to your kids.

JOSH HARPER: And back to caffeine, what are the other effects of caffeine?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, they do speed up nerve impulses. What that means is basically, the impulse of electricity down the nerve happens faster and that can fatigue and kill nerve cells if it happens too quickly. So that’s one of the main effects of caffeine.

The other effect is it also works as a dehydrating agent, so basically, it extracts water from you cells and you pee more.

JOSH HARPER: Why is that? What happens there?

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s a diuretic, so basically, caffeine extracts water from the cells. It can also extract water from the bowel and cause diarrhoea and it can cause or increase motions of bowel movement, and, of course, dehydration as well from the large colon. So often, people will say if you drink coffee, also drink a glass of water to combat the effects of the coffee, which is a pretty smart thing to do.

So the short-term effects of caffeine are: it does improve your blood pressure, it can also improve your level of arousal and activation (you are basically more aroused). The longer-term effects of caffeine would also be dizziness, anxiety, irritability, increases your breathing rate and heart rate, it’ll make you more restless and more excitable, it can cause headaches as well, it can lead to lack of concentration, it can also lead to tummy pains and upset tummy, it will also lead to dehydration and also frequent trips to the toilet.

So like with anything, it is a good thing but in moderation, just not in excess. Again, the limit would really be three cups of coffee, because generally, the caffeine lasts in your system for up to 12 hours.

JOSH HARPER: But in terms of non-caffeinated coffee beans, what’s the deal with that?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. With decaf coffee, fair enough that it’s the caffeine extracted from it, but oftentimes, the chemical they use to make the extraction is actually more detrimental to your health than caffeine is. they use, I don’t know if it’s bleaching agents or whatever, but it’s chemicals that they have to pour onto this stuff to extract the caffeine before it’s made into the type or form that you have now, your decaf coffee.

So serious overdoses with coffee, or caffeine per se, would have to be where you’re consuming the equivalent of 80 cups of coffee a day. People just don’t do that. And the sorts of side effects with the overdose would be things like panic attacks, anxiety, confusion, seizures even (which can also lead to death as well).

But all in all, caffeine can be addictive, so withdrawal effects would be things like headache. Generally, if you’re a moderate or low user of caffeine, you may have a headache for a day or something like that. But if you’re a high use of coffee, that headache may last for three days. So bear that in mind when you do come off coffee, if you do it for any reason.

JOSH HARPER: And to conclude, John, what information do you want our listeners to take home from today?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, Josh, all in all, I think with caffeine or coffee use, just in moderation is great; it does have health benefits. With sports drinks, again, in moderation, because it may have some health benefits, but just keep it away from kids. Water, we need it. Our body is made up of water predominantly, 80-85%. So you can get it from tap water, bottled water, or filtered water. You be the judge; you’ve heard the information today. But you really do need to drink it.

So that’s really what I wanted to talk about today, Josh.

And you’ve been listening to Living is Easy with John and Josh. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSH HARPER: And I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: Until next time, stay well and stay happy.