Updated: Sep 10
Have you ever wondered how much caffeine you can safely consume each day? Caffeine occurs naturally in foods like coffee, tea, chocolate, and some soft drinks, but it’s also added to sodas and energy drinks as an additive. Some people enjoy the extra boost they get from consuming caffeinated beverages, but others wonder if there are any side effects from ingesting too much caffeine. Let’s take a look at how much caffeine is in common beverages, what the side effects are when you have too much caffeine, and what you can do to avoid them.
The Adenosine Blocker
Caffeine prevents adenosine from binding to its receptors.
This has the effect of blocking sleepiness and makes caffeine a powerful wakefulness drug.
The average adult can metabolize about four cups of coffee a day without major side effects.
However, people metabolize caffeine at different rates. Some people are fast metabolizers and can drink more coffee without experiencing side effects.
Others are slow metabolizers and may feel jittery or anxious after just one cup.
Effects of Over-Consumption
Over-consumption of caffeine can lead to a number of unpleasant side effects, including jitters, anxiety, heart palpitations, and trouble sleeping.
In extreme cases, it can even cause mania or psychosis. So how much is too much?
The answer may depend on your individual tolerance, but most experts agree that 400 mg per day is the safe limit for healthy adults.
However, if you're particularly sensitive to caffeine, you may want to stick to less than 200mg per day.
So if you're feeling jittery after your second cup of joe, it might be time to cut back.
What Happens to Your Body at Different Levels of Consumption
At low levels of consumption (up to 100 mg), caffeine can have positive effects. It can improve alertness, vigilance and reaction time. It also improves mood and cognitive function.
At moderate levels of consumption (100 to 200 mg), caffeine can still have positive effects, but it may also cause side effects such as restlessness, anxiety, tremors and insomnia.
At high levels of consumption (200 to 400 mg), caffeine can cause more severe side effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure.
In extreme cases, it can lead to seizures and death.
Safe and Unsafe Levels
A safe level of caffeine is usually below 400 milligrams per day. However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and can have adverse effects at lower levels.
If you're pregnant, for example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises limiting caffeine to less than 200 milligrams per day.
People with anxiety disorders or who take certain medications may also be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
Sources of Caffeine
1. Sodas – A can of Coca-Cola has about 35 mg of caffeine, Mountain Dew has about 54 mg, and Pepsi has about 38 mg. Diet sodas have a little less caffeine, but they’re still not great for you.
2. Energy Drinks – A typical energy drink contains about 80 mg of caffeine.
3. Coffee – A cup of coffee has anywhere from 95-200 mg of caffeine, depending on the size and type of beans used.
4. Tea – Black tea has about 47 mg of caffeine per cup, while green tea has about 29 mg.
5. Chocolate – A 1.6 oz dark chocolate bar has about 30 mg of caffeine
Why do we like it so much?
We like caffeine because it's a psychoactive drug that increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and can improve mood and cognitive function.
It feels like it wakes us up and gets us going.
It can help us feel more alert and clearheaded, and it can improve our mood.
It can also help us focus better and be more productive. In moderate doses, caffeine is relatively safe. A good thing can be overdone, however.
Final thoughts on safe consumption
Just like with anything else, it's important to moderate your caffeine intake. It's possible that too much of a good thing will be unhealthy.
The best way to enjoy caffeine is in moderation and with intention.
Be mindful of how much you're consuming and why.
If you find that you're relying on caffeine to get through the day, it might be time to cut back. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
While a cup of coffee in the morning can help you start your day, too much caffeine can have negative effects on your health.
Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy and avoid overdoing it on the caffeine:
1. Drink lots of water throughout the day, and stay hydrated.
2. Try to get enough sleep at night so you're not tired during the day.
3. Eat healthy foods to keep your energy levels up.
4. Avoid drinking caffeine late in the day so it doesn't affect your sleep.
5. If you're feeling anxious or jittery, slow down on the caffeine intake.
6. Don't drink caffeinated beverages on an empty stomach as this can make you feel nauseous.