The effects of caffeine on the body may vary depending upon whether you’re a male or female, at least in teens. According to a study published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, caffeine affects boys and girls differently.
Do boys get more of a charge than girls?
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers at the University of Buffalo gave 52 teenage boys and girls a beverage containing various amounts of caffeine (50 mg, 100 mg or 200 mg) or one containing no caffeine.
During four different visits, the teens had the opportunity to drink each beverage containing one of the four caffeine concentrations and have their blood pressure and heart measured every ten minutes for an hour after drinking them. They also filled out a behavioral checklist and ate as much snack food as they wanted after drinking the beverage.
The results? Boys had a greater increase in blood pressure after drinking caffeinated beverages than girls did – and boys who consumed more caffeine overall had higher blood pressures compared to those who drank fewer caffeinated beverages.
Even more surprising was the effects of caffeine on eating behavior. Boys and girls who were “high caffeine consumers”, meaning they drank large amounts of caffeine on a regular basis, ate more sugary snack foods during the study and ate a more calorie-rich diet.
What does this mean?
The effects of caffeine may be different in boys and girls. Boys have a more exaggerated blood pressure response, particularly if they’re frequent caffeine consumers. In addition, boys and girls who habitually consume caffeine eat more calories and snack more on sugary foods, according to this study. This may come as a surprise since some people drink coffee to suppress their appetite. Coffee raises cortisol levels, which increases carbohydrate cravings, which could explain this finding.
Overall, girls drink fewer caffeinated energy drinks than boys, which could be because they don’t get the same “rush” as boys do from caffeine.
The take-home message?
Caffeine affects everyone differently, and there may be differences in how boys and girls and men and women respond to it. On the other hand, too much caffeine raises cortisol levels, which can lead to nervousness, insomnia and blood pressure elevations in some people.
The bottom line? Most boys and girls would be better served getting less caffeine, especially from sources such as soft drinks and energy drinks.
Reference: Medical News Today. “Boys Who Are High-Caffeine Consumers Get Greater Rush From Caffeine Than Girls.”