I couldn’t imagine life without my daily dose of caffeine. I often have 1-2 cups of tea in the a.m. and a latte as a pick-me-up later in the day. When I’m competing in a race or event, I always drink more coffee to get the additional boost it provides.
While everyone is different, experts suggest that 200-400 mg of caffeine (the amount in 2-4 cups of brewed coffee) a day is ok, and is linked to health benefits.
Caffeine jolts your central nervous system and metabolism, helps alleviate fatigue, increases wakefulness and improves concentration and focus. It’s also associated with reducing risk for some chronic diseases and it’s well known as a performance-enhancer among athletes.
But if you’re daily intake gets too high—more than 500 or 600 mg per day—that’s when problems may arise. Even if you’re not downing several cups of coffee or tea a day, you’d be surprised at how much caffeine is in other beverages and foods and O-T-C products like weight loss pills and some pain relievers. With potential health risks associated with high daily doses of caffeine and energy drink products specifically, the Canadian government recently set limits on energy drinks to provide no more than 180 mg caffeine per single-serve products and no more than 400 mg for larger-sized products (like a 32-ounce Monster Energy Drink).
Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require manufacturers to list caffeine content on labels, it’s often hard to tell whether a product contains the stimulant, and how much.
Use this infographic about the caffeine and sugar content of popular beverages.
Signs that You’re Getting Too Much Caffeine
If you are experiencing these side effects, you may want to curb your caffeine intake.
- Stomach upset
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremors
Pregnancy and Caffeine
Pregnant women used to be advised to avoid all caffeine but the new guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that up to 200 mg a day is fine for pregnant women.