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How To Kick The Coffee Habit

Posted: 03/19/2012 8:58 am

By Amanda Gardner

There's nothing wrong with coffee, unless you have acid reflux or other reasons to avoid it.

"Caffeine tends to [open] the lower esophageal sphincter," says Robynne Chutkan, M.D., assistant professor in gastroenterology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Giving up caffeine helps acid reflux, as well as sleeplessness and anxiety. But it can also make you cranky, tired and give you headaches. Try these tips to kick the habit.

Gradually Cut Back
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"If you do drink a lot of caffeine, you might want to give it up slowly," says Keri Gans, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and author of "The Small Change Diet".

This should help lessen the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms and also give you time to develop new habits to replace the old. "New habits aren't developed overnight," says Gans. But how quickly you taper off and how long it takes depends on how much you're drinking to begin with, she says.

Keep in mind that you can get caffeine from other sources too, such as chocolate.

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Flickr photo by Alan Cleaver

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Filed by Sarah Klein  |