How much is too much Caffeine
How much is too much Caffeine

Do you consider yourself a hefty caffeine consumer? If yes, well you certainly are not alone. About 85% of the global population drinks one or more caffeinated beverages each day such as soda, tea, energy drinks, coffee, ice-creams, and chocolates. Undoubtedly, coffee is one of the primary drinks for daily consumption across the world. On an average, a random coffee cup has about 90 milligrams of caffeine. And any given person consumes at least two 8-ounce cups of coffee a day which sums up to 180 mg. According to the National Coffee Association in USA, about 68% of Americans are hooked on coffee one way or the other. To call out some avid coffee drinking groups or groups consuming too much caffeine – employees from the corporate world, students on college campuses, people in public places etc. are big fans of coffee.

Caffeine is a substance which has a bitter taste naturally sourced from plants and processed or reaches consumers via tea leaves, coffee beans, cocoa pods (used to make chocolates), kola nuts (generally used to flavor soft drinks) etc. And as consumption of caffeine has effects on the central nervous system of a human body, it is classified as a ‘DRUG’. It is available in form of synthetic caffeine (man-made) as well and is added to medicines and drinks such as cold medicines, over the counter medicines and pain relievers, some energy drinks, and gums.

Caffeine has some benefits but affects negatively as well if it is consumed in excess quantity. Just as any other drug, even caffeine has two sides of a coin.

Jotting down some benefits of caffeine below:

  1. Reduces fatigue
  2. Memory boosting
  3. Enhances concentration and mental functioning
  4. Develops alertness and improves mood
  5. It may help to prevent liver diseases (liver cancer), Parkinson’s disease.

Now let’s look at some negative impacts due to excessive consumption of caffeine:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Abnormal and rapid heart rhythm
  3. Anxiety
  4. Dizziness
  5. Headache
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. Increase blood sugar levels and blood pressure, a risk of heart disease
  8. Chest pain, palpitation, and tremors
  9. Decreases bone mineral density in women especially if soft drinks consumed daily.
  10. Suppress calcium absorption

Therefore people with certain conditions should avoid caffeine intake. Conditions such as pregnancy (because caffeine can pass through the placenta to the fetus), during breastfeeding stage (since a small amount can pass to your baby), people who have a sleeping disorder, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcer, migraines and high blood pressure. Caffeine intensifies the stress response, therefore, teens, children and elderly all are at higher risk for these types of negative outcomes. As per USDHHS (US Department of Health and Human Services) and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) for healthy adults 400 milligrams of caffeine/day is safe to consume. 400mg of caffeine equates to either 4 cups of coffee or 10 can of cola or 2 energy shots. But do note that the above correlation of the beverages with 400 mg of caffeine is an approximation. The actual caffeine levels in some drinks can vary widely. But do note even with consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee or about 400mg of caffeine has little evidence of health risk.

What I believe – 

Level of caffeine consumption depends and varies by each individual. Some people are highly sensitive for its effects while others can still have a good night sleep right after having a cup of Joe. It is very necessary to moderate our caffeine consumption. Some people wish to cut down the caffeine consumption but abrupt reduction in caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, headache, difficulty focusing task and irritability. The good news is these symptoms can resolve after some days. Try these tips to curb your caffeine habit gradually.  

  • Cut back gradually, that means to drink a smaller cup of coffee or drink fewer cans of soda/day, it will help you get used to the smaller amount of caffeine and reduce the withdrawal symptoms.                     
  • Avoid or reduce caffeine intake as a day progress/ at nighttime.
  • Be cognizant about the nutrition labels and always check on the caffeine content before consuming.
  • While making tea or coffee, brew it less; this helps to reduce the caffeine content.
  • Select caffeine free pain relievers because some over the counter pain relievers contain caffeine which has 130 mg of caffeine in just a single dose.
  • Choose decaf coffee over other caffeine beverages.       

Therefore, you can enjoy your coffee and other caffeine-rich beverages but at the same time, moderation and balance are very necessary. And as caffeine has certainly become a key ingredient in our recipe of a happy day. So, go get a cup of java and enjoy your day!

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How much is too much Caffeine

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