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| 22 August, 2017

Coffee fuels alertness for UAE drivers

A cup of Kenyan Geisha coffee, which retails for $18, is served at the Extraction Lab by Alpha Dominche in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTSZ7Z4. Image used for illustrative purposes

A cup of Kenyan Geisha coffee, which retails for $18, is served at the Extraction Lab by Alpha Dominche in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTSZ7Z4. Image used for illustrative purposes

Brendan McDermid - RTSZ7Z4
Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017

Dubai: Coffee is helping many drivers in the UAE stay alert on the road, according to a survey.

The study, commissioned by Continental as part of its Vison Zero safety initiative, and conducted by YouGov, reveals how drivers turn to different types of caffeinated drinks to help them maintain concentration, but warns of the dangers of relying on certain types of drinks to enhance levels of alertness.

The survey asked 1,002 UAE respondents about their habitual drink intake as well as what the impact of not being able to consume their preferred drink. Of these, 27 per cent claimed not having their drink of choice left them tired and unfocused, with 24 per cent acknowledging it negatively impacted their levels of concentration.

Of those questioned, just 16 per cent turn to energy drinks for an energy boost, as opposed to 46 per cent who choose coffee to help them stay alert. While the most popular drink overall was tea, far fewer - 39 percent - drink tea to benefit from any extra ‘kick’ it gives them. Just 13 per cent of respondents choose carbonated beverages to boost their levels of alertness, with this figure rising to 17 per cent and 24 per cent for drinkers of hot chocolate and Karak Chai respectively.

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Road safety continues to be a major issue in the UAE, with recent figures from the Ministry of Interior and National Transport Authority showing that 725 people lost their lives on the country’s roads in 2016. The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority highlighted that poor concentration, inattentiveness and tiredness raise the likelihood of crashes.

Speaking on the findings, Dr Dana Al-Hamwi, a DHA-certified clinical dietician, founder of Dr Dana Diet Centre (DDDC) in Dubai Healthcare City, said: “Studies have shown that a cup of coffee or tea can be a ‘quick-fix’ for tired drivers. But caffeinated drinks shouldn’t be relied upon to maintain focus and concentration when on the road.

“Caffeine has no stimulation effect on the brain. Indeed, excessive caffeine consumption can cause symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, irregular or rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching and slurred speech. At the same time, drinks that are high in sugar content can lead to fatigue,” Dr Al-Hamwi added.

TIPS

Health and nutrition tips to help drivers have a safer driving experience:

1)Drink enough water to boost the electrical energy in the brain for all body functions

2)Avoid snacks with high salt or sugar content

3)Eat regular meals and consume fruit and vegetables

4)Avoid fast food and sugary drinks

5)Avoid medications that cause drowsiness

6)Chew gum to help increase focus on the road and reduce tension

7)Smaller healthy snacks are better than big meals

8)Have healthy snacks including carrots, celery, grapes, cheese sticks and grilled chicken strips

9)Follow your body clock and stop for a break on long trips

10)Make sure to allow fresh air to circulate inside the car cabin

(Continental Middle East and Dr Dana Al-Hamwi

Staff Report Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.