Its Not Just In Your Coffee Here Are Five Things You Need To Know
Caffeine has become synonymous with energy, and about 90 percent of adults around the globe consume it in one form or another on a daily basis. But the stimulant is showing up in some pretty unusual places, including energy bars, jelly beans, mints, and peanut butter.
Market research firm Mintel estimates that about 14 percent of new beverages and foods added to store shelves in the past five years contain added or natural caffeine. Its fine to have a cup or two of coffee to ease into the day, but should you pair it with a spread of caffeinated peanut butter on your morning toast? Caffeine isnt the health villain it was once believed to be, but getting too much can still have its downsides. We outline some key health-related facts about this ubiquitous compound:
A General Guide To Caffeine Consumption Only
Our caffeine safe limit recommendations listed above are based on what the latest research tells us and should be used as a general guide, not gospel.
There are just too many variations in the human population to determine a safe limit for caffeine use in ALL people.
Caffeine should be treated like any other drug and used with caution until a person understands how the substance interacts with his/her particular genetic make-up and health profile.
Its also important to understand that a persons safe limit of caffeine can change over time as a persons health evolves over his/her lifetime.
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True, it can increase your energy and help you power through your day, but you can overdo it, says registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD.
Caffeine is a stimulant, and it affects your body in several ways, says Czerwony. How much caffeine is too much? You have to weigh the risks and benefits.
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For Healthy Adults Up To 400 Mg/day Is Considered Safe Pregnant Or Breastfeeding Women Are Advised To Consume No More Than 200 Mg/day People With Cardiovascular Health Issues Should Also Consider Limiting Their Caffeine Intake
This page is regularly updated, to include the most recently available clinical trial evidence.
Each member of our research team is required to have no conflicts of interest, including with supplementmanufacturers, food companies, and industry funders. The team includes nutrition researchers, registereddietitians, physicians, and pharmacists. We have a strict editorial process.
This page features 32 references. All factual claims are followed by specifically-applicable references. to see the full set of referencesfor this page.
Caffeine is naturally present in coffee, tea, cocoa, guarana, and yerba mate, but it is also frequently added to sodas, energy drinks, and weight-loss supplements. Most of us consume some form of caffeinated beverage. In 2016 alone, people ingested 7 million tonnes of coffee, and the energy drink market is consistently growing. Before we get into the evidence on safe caffeine dosage, lets see where all this caffeine is coming from.
How Long Should You Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
Caffeine stays in your system for three to six hours. At a minimum, youll want to avoid having any for at least six hours before going to bed. However, since peoples sensitivity to caffeine can vary, some experts recommend avoiding caffeine for up to 11 hours before bedtime. For example, some studies have shown that caffeine consumed even six hours before bed can still disrupt sleep and shorten it by more than one hour.
Problematically, most people have caffeine within that time frame. Up to 90% of people consume caffeine between noon and 6 p.m., and nearly 70% consume it between 6 p.m. and midnight. Caffeine use later in the day is even more common among younger people, who are sensitive to caffeine. Over one-third report having their first caffeinated beverage of the day at 5 p.m. or later.
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How Does Caffeine Impact Sleep
Difficulty sleeping is a common side effect of having too much caffeine. People who regularly consume caffeine may have a tougher time falling asleep, wake up earlier than usual, and enjoy less restful sleep overall. Caffeine disrupts your sleep to varying extents, depending on how much you consumed, when you last had it, and your personal sensitivity to caffeine.
For example, having caffeine too close to bed can cause you to wake up during the night. One study found that people who had caffeine 3 hours before bed spent a total of 27 minutes awake during the night. Even those who last had caffeine 6 hours before bed found their sleep interrupted, spending a total of 8 minutes awake. Caffeine can also shorten your sleep by up to 30 minutes . Finally, caffeine can alter your sleep architecture, reducing the amount of time you spend in light and deep sleep.
The more caffeine you consume, the more havoc it may wreak on your sleep and energy levels. People who consume more caffeine are more likely to report having trouble sleeping at night and staying awake during the day.
Heartburn And Stomach Upset
Caffeine can aggravate the production of stomach acid, Czerwony says. The result: uncomfortable heartburn symptoms.
Acids in coffee can add to the problem, but coffee isnt the only culprit. Caffeine in soda and other sources can also trigger acid reflux. Too much caffeine can cause stomach issues, she adds.
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How Much Caffeine Is Too Much And Tips For Cutting Back
Starting the day with a cup of coffee is a daily habit for many people. While caffeine does have some health benefits, drinking too much can affect your well-being. If youre constantly relying on caffeine drinks to stay focused throughout the day, it may be time to cut back.
How much is too much?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant. For most adults, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is a safe amount. While you may know that caffeine is in coffee, it can also be found in other drinks and foods and even in some medications. Drinks and foods with caffeine include:
- Coffee, brewed drip, 6 oz = 103 mg
- Coffee, brewed percolator, 6 oz = 75 mg
- Black or green tea, 16 oz = 60100 mg
- Espresso, 1 oz = 40 mg
- Energy drinks, 8 oz = 75 mg
- Regular or diet sodas, 12 oz = 3550 mg
- Chocolate milk, 8 oz = 8 mg
- Hot chocolate, 6 oz = 4 mg
- Chocolate, 1 oz = 820 mg
Knowing what items contain caffeine can help you stay within the recommended amount and consume less throughout the day.
Caffeine and your health
One of the most common and well-known effects of drinking caffeine is that it can make it hard to sleep. It can stay in your system and keep you stimulated for a surprisingly long time. So try not to consume caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. And if youre more sensitive to caffeine or if you drink too much you may also experience:
- Faster heartbeat, which can lead to feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
Does The Source Of Caffeine Matter Health
How does coffee stand up next to tea, energy drinks, and so on? “The body does recognize the difference between natural vs. synthetic caffeine. In fact, according to the 2020 IFIC Food & Health Survey, over the past five years, Americans have trended towards believing that naturally occurring and added caffeine have the same effect,” explains Meyer. What matters the most and is recommended by the FDA and US Dietary Guidelines for Americans is that you stay below 400 milligrams, since that amount is not associated with negative health effects in healthy adults. “It’s also important to keep in mind that there is wide variation in individual sensitivities to caffeine as well as how fast they metabolize it.”
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Do I Need To Avoid Caffeine
Ultimately, caffeine affects us all differently, and we all have our own tolerance to its effects depending on our genes and our lifestyles. Its difficult to gauge how much caffeine is too much, but as long as you know your limits, and avoid taking too many caffeine supplements, theres no reason to fear that your caffeine fix is getting in the way of your health. In fact, there are many antioxidants and other compounds in coffee and tea, so drinking a few cups a day might well actually be good for you.21 Thank goodness for that!
Let us know in the comments belowhow much caffeine do you drink in a day?
How Much Caffeine Is In Coffee And Tea
There are many different ways someone might consume caffeine, and each source varies in how much caffeine it contains. The most popular options are coffee and tea, which are natural sources of caffeine though each variety has a different caffeine content depending on its origin and how it is prepared. Naturally-occurring caffeine is also found in cocoa beans, kola nuts, and yerba mate, while many carbonated sodas, energy drinks and even some brands of water and juice have caffeine artificially added to them.8,9 Some painkillers also contain caffeine, since it can enhance their pain-relieving effects.10 In its pure powdered or tablet form, caffeine can be potentially dangerous as high concentrations make it far easier to over-consume. For this reason, pure caffeine isnt recommended as a part of an average daily routine, and should be cleared by your physician first.11
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Caffeine Amounts For Healthy Adults
300 mg 400 mg of caffeine
The research behind this number uses an average body weight. So if you weigh more than the average human, you can safely consume a little more but if you weigh less than the average human you should consume a little less.
The calculator takes the medical recommendation and adjusts for your own body weight.
400 mg caffeine is equivalent to:
A large review by European Food Safety Authority concluded that a daily safe dose of 400 mg is safe for adults and single doses of 200 mg at one time are fine for those engaging in exercise directly after the dose.
Can You Overdose On Caffeine
Caffeine overdose can lead to death in rare cases. However, death from too much caffeine typically involves a medication that has caffeine as an ingredient, or when caffeine is mixed with drugs or alcohol.
Energy drink consumption, in particular, can increase your risk of caffeine overdose, whether you drink them daily or once in a while. Researchers have attributed a rise in caffeine-related visits to the emergency room to energy drinks and other highly concentrated caffeinated beverages.
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How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Here Are The Rules
Youve probably heard that caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, so if you feel like you might be addicted, youre far from alone. If you drink just one or two cups of coffee, a few cups of tea, or even a small soda a day, you probably have few worries when it comes to caffeine. But as the quantity increases, you may find yourself asking, how much caffeine is too much? Am I getting too much of a good thing?
In todays article about caffeine, we will cover:
Caffeine Can Affect Mental Health
Caffeine affects mental health and anxiety in different ways depending on how much is consumed. In low doses, it may actually help to improve mood and reduce anxiety or depression but taking too much caffeine can make people feel jittery or tense, so its best to check how youre feeling before deciding on whether another coffee is the right call.20
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How Long Should I Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
The caffeine in your bloodstream will last at least three hours before you go to bed. For example, 90% of people consumed caffeine from 12:15 until 6.
Some researchers recommend that people do not drink coffee before bed. Many studies have shown that even six hours of consumption may cause insomnia and shortens sleeping for nearly an hour.
Nearly one-third of the population in America, which spends much less time sleeping than most people worldwide, drink their first coffee of the day at 5 p.m.
Nearly 70% of Americans consume caffeine from other sources before they drink it in coffee, mostly among people who are sensitive to caffeine.
How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Your System
Current research in caffeine half-life estimates the average persons breakdown to 5-6 hours, but tolerance and DNA can affect this number significantly. When people overindulge in caffeine, it does not just break down within your body.
Some withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue or irritability, can disappear with a little water, but that usually isnt enough.
Some people find it helpful to have an early cutoff period for caffeine so they can disrupt their sleep hours later in the night. And I think this is why some people drink coffee earlier than you might expect.
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Side Effects Of Drinking Too Much Caffeine
High doses of caffeine can lead to:
- Anxiety attacks
- Muscle twitches.
- Rhabdomyolysis .
It can also be lethal, as the amount of caffeine needed to kill a human is estimated to be between 10 and 19 grams .
However, some reports suggest that 20% or more of American teenagers have been ingesting highs doses of caffeine.
But the most common side effects of caffeine are:
Is Caffeine Really A Drug
In short, the answer is yes, caffeine is a drug. To be more specific, caffeine is considered a stimulant drug 1 as it stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine is found in many common drinks as well as chocolate bars. Its also found in some headache and weight-loss pills and performance-enhancing supplements because it can affect how you feel, act, and perform.
For example, caffeine speeds up messages between the brain and body, increases energy production within the central nervous system and muscles, and increases metabolic rate.
As many of us who have been forced to skip our morning coffee know all too well, it can also be addicting, leading to headaches, brain fog, and other not-so-nice withdrawal symptoms if we suddenly cut it out of the diet.
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Do Coffee Drinks Have Health Benefits
While coffee beans can contain antioxidants and other nutrients, not all drinks are created equal. Extra sugars and additives can take away from some of coffee’s health benefits. For example, a sweetened coffee drink loaded with extra sugar and whipped cream will not do anything towards preventing type 2 diabetes or liver disease.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of great coffee drinks on the market with plenty of health benefits. We’re big fans of Rebbl coffee drinks, which combine some super herbs with coffee to maximize the benefits. They taste delicious but without extra sugars. Even better? The company’s committed to ethical product sourcing, so you can really feel good about drinking these.
If you’d prefer to make your own healthy coffee beverage, here’s one of our favorite coffee smoothies. It’s a perfect pick-me-up or meal for people on the go.
Whats The Official Guidance
According to the experts over at the FDA, you probably want to limit your daily caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams or less. Thats from all sources of caffeine, not just coffee, so if youre also snacking on chocolate-covered espresso beans and throwing back energy drinks, thatll affect how much coffee you can drink.
But how much coffee is 400 milligrams? The average 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine, and a shot of espresso typically has 64 milligrams. That means you can drink four cups of coffee or six shots of espresso in one day without maxing out your caffeine intake.
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What Should You Do If Youve Consumed Too Much Caffeine
If you suspect that youve had too much caffeine, stop consuming it for the day. Drink water instead to stay hydrated. Caffeine is a diuretic and can dehydrate you. You can also eat something to slow the absorption of caffeine. If youre feeling anxious, it may help to practice deep breathing, or go for a walk.
How Much Caffeine Is Required To Overdose
It takes quite a lot of caffeine for it to be toxic, but youll likely experience unpleasant side effects far sooner. Thats why even though the FDA estimates that toxic effects may be observed when 1200 mg of caffeine are consumed in a short period of time, Falcone explains that most healthcare professionals recommend setting a limit around 400 mg.
These numbers may not apply to everyone, though, since peoples bodies process caffeine differently. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, explains Jim White, RDN, ACSM EX-P, adding that these people can experience side effects at lower doses. And these symptoms can be worse in people who combine caffeine with tobacco or alcohol, he adds.
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How Much Caffeine Are Americans Consuming
A 2014 survey study from The Pennsylvania State University found that on average, those ages 50-64 consume the most caffeine daily.
Surprisingly 2 to 5-year-olds consume on average 24 mg of caffeine daily.
- 1. Heckman, M. A., Weil, J. and De Mejia, E. G. , Caffeine in Foods: A Comprehensive Review on Consumption, Functionality, Safety, and Regulatory Matters. Journal of Food Science, 75: R77R87. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01561.x Link