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Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?

Listen to “Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?”.


The most common sources of caffeine for most people are tea, coffee, soda and chocolate. Most sodas, not just colas, contain caffeine.

Energy drinks are growing in popularity, particularly among teens and young adults. The caffeine content of these drinks ranges from 60 mg to more than 250 mg per serving.

Caffeine affects people differently and will depend on their size, gender and sensitivity to it. For people who are sensitive to caffeine, even moderate amounts can cause insomnia, rapidly increased heart rate, anxiety and feelings of restlessness.

Health and nutrition experts agree that consuming less than 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults.

Many people develop a tolerance for caffeine. This means that their bodies get used to having caffeine every day. Over time, they need to keep increasing their caffeine intake to boost their concentration and awareness.

What are the symptoms of having too much caffeine?

  • Headaches, nervousness, dizziness
  • Having ‘the jitters’ or feeling shaky
  • Insomnia or sleep that is ‘on and off’ throughout the night
  • Racing heart or abnormal heartbeat
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Dehydration

If your body becomes dependent on caffeine, eliminating it from your diet can cause withdrawal symptoms. These typically begin 12–24 hours after your last caffeine intake.

Whether you think you’re a little too dependent on caffeine or you have a medical or other personal reason to cut back (perhaps you’re planning on becoming pregnant) here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Reduce caffeine consumption gradually.

Don’t try ditch caffeine completely from day one. Instead, reduce your intake gradually, over a period of days and weeks. If you’re drinking four cups of coffee per day, try reducing it to 3 cups per day, for the first week. You might also substitute one cup with decaf.

2. Try coffee alternatives, such as green or black tea.

Tea can still give you a boost but has less caffeine than coffee. An 8-ounce cup of black tea contains about 47 milligrams of caffeine, and green tea has about 25 milligrams per cup, compared to 75 to 165 milligrams in an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee.

3. Increase your workout routine.  

Exercise produces similar stimulating feelings to coffee. Regular exercise increases blood circulation, wakes up your body and mind, and has long-term physical and mental health effects.

Instead of reaching for a cup of afternoon joe, head out for a walk or bike ride.

4. Substitute caffeinated drinks with water

Sipping water throughout the day will not only satisfy your need for having a drink at hand but will also make you feel better in general, which will further reduce your perceived need for coffee.



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