By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD
While on phentermine, patients should not drink regular coffee. Phentermine is a stimulant and caffeine is a stimulant. Taken together, they increase the chance for nervousness, palpitations and poor sleep. Besides that, people tend to put a lot of sugar or sweetener in coffee, and we were trying to cut down on sugar. That’s was the main point these days.
I don’t care about the caffeine in tea or chocolate. There is so much less caffeine in brewed tea. Interestingly there is just as much caffeine in an ounce of tea leaves as in an ounce of ground coffee beans; but you use so much less tea leaves to make a cup of tea than beans to make coffee.
You may drink decaff coffee. Here are some things I have heard patients say.
“But doctor, I heard that decaff coffee still contains caffeine.”
I answer, “Er, uh, no it doesn’t. If you heard that, it was an alternative fact or fake news.”
“But doctor, I need the caffeine to wake me up in the morning.”
I reply, “Phentermine will wake you up.”
“But doctor, I don’t like how decaff coffee tastes.”
“That’s baloney. Here’s a riddle for you. Why do plants make caffeine? They don’t have a brain or nervous system. They don’t need caffeine to wake up. Why do they make it?”
. . .
“I will give you a hint. All the plants making caffeine originally grew at the edge of a desert.”
. . .
“Another hint. Plants make caffeine for the same reason cactuses make thorns.”
. . .
“Okay here is the answer. The biological purpose of caffeine is to have a bitter taste, so animals don’t eat the plant to get water. Hence there is no way caffeine improves the taste of coffee.”
“My wife Laurel swore she could tell the difference. So I made two pots one decaff, one regular, same proportions and temperature. Five cups had decaff, five regular. The cups were identified only by a number. I asked my wife to taste each cup and tell whether it was regular or decaff. She was sure she knew the difference, but I showed her she was guessing randomly.”