Caffeine and Health

You’ve seen the mugs reading “don’t talk to me till I’ve had my coffee” and then seen that same person pound an entire pot of coffee before they’re tolerable. Maybe that person is you, after all, we’re used to caffeine in the morning, and some of us push it even further, to the afternoon, or the evening, maybe with an energy drink. Have you ever wondered just how much caffeine is too much?

Fortunately, there are some simple rules, and there are a few other things to understand about all that caffeine some folks put in their body.

Is There Really That Much Caffeine in This?

Whether you’re drinking coffee, tea, or an energy drink, or eating chocolate, it’s probably a good idea to know how much caffeine you’re putting in your body. Sure, too much of anything is bad for you, but why overdo something you enjoy? Caffeine isn’t just in the obvious places, either, as you can sometimes find it in flavorings, like guarana, or as an additive to other beverages and foods.

The nutrition information on the side of your foods packaging should tell you how much caffeine is in it, but if you know there’s caffeine and they don’t volunteer it, it’s best to be safe. With “typical” caffeine drinks, the amount of caffeine can very wildly, cup to cup, depending on how the plant was grown and how they were prepared before drinking. There are some guidelines though:

  • Coffee (8 oz cup): 80-100 milligrams of caffeine
  • Green or black tea (8 oz cup): 30-50 milligrams of caffeine
  • Caffeinated soft drink (12 oz): 30-40 milligrams of caffeine
  • Energy drinks (8 oz): 40-250 milligrams of caffeine

It’s also important to note that decaf coffee only has less caffeine than a normal cup, not none. Typically it is between 2-15 milligrams of caffeine for an 8 oz cup of decaf.

Have I Had Too Much Caffeine?

There are a few typical physical and mental signs that you have had too much caffeine:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Jitters or anxiousness
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Headache
  • A general feeling of unhappiness

If you find yourself feeling like this after an amount of caffeine, it’s best to stick to the recommended amount of caffeine intake.

How Much Caffeine is Okay?

A good rule of thumb, according to the FDA, is that 400 milligrams per day is where most people should cap out. That works out to four or five cups of coffee. Obviously, every person will be different, but if you’re looking for a basic guideline, stick to that four or five cups of coffee per day. Obviously, if you’re pregnant or have a medical condition that could be affected by caffeine, talk to your doctor. And it’s not recommended to give caffeine to kids.


Culturally, at least, many of us find ourselves addicted to caffeine. This is why you should pay attention to your habits and how they affect your health. As always, balance is key.

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