caffeine addiction

Caffeine Addiction: Appropriate Versus Excessive Amounts of Caffeine Per Day

There is a reason Starbucks is so popular – people love their caffeinated beverages. But how much is too much, and what are the effects of caffeine on the body?

Some people feel they cannot function without that morning cup of coffee or green tea. Many are in a daily habit of consuming caffeine, often unaware of the detrimental effects that caffeine can have upon the body.

Effects of Caffeine on the Body

Even small amounts of caffeine consumption can cause:

  • Jitteriness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Accelerated heartbeat

Long-term caffeine addiction can cause heart disease, ulcers, fibrocystic disease and even infertility. There is no evidence that caffeine consumption effectively helps people stay awake.

How Much Is Too Much?

According to Teeccino, maker of caffeine-free herbal coffee products, drinking less than 100 mg of caffeine per day is no cause for concern. Consuming anywhere between 100-300 mg of caffeine can be a warning that a person is headed toward caffeine addiction, but is not usually considered harmful.

Once a person begins drinking anywhere from 300-600 mg of caffeine per day, he is undoubtedly experiencing caffeine addiction. If an individual reaches the heights of 600-900 mg of caffeine per day, he is not only addicted, he is at risk for heart disease, disruption of mood and energy levels, gastrointestinal disease and psychological disorders. At this point a person may need professional medical assistance to successfully kick the habit.

Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should decrease their caffeine consumption or stay away from caffeine altogether.

Caffeine Withdrawal

When choosing to cut back on caffeine, it is better to do so slowly to reduce withdrawal symptoms. In any case, however, symptoms can appear as soon as half a day after caffeine was last ingested. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling of general malaise
  • Difficulty concentrating

Individuals should consult with a physician if kicking the caffeine habit proves to be more difficult than previously thought.

Caffeine Content in Food and Beverages

Caffeine is found in coffee, some soft drinks, green and black tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some medications.

Here are some approximate figures regarding caffeine content:

8-oz cup of brewed coffee: 60-120 mg

8-oz cup of instant coffee: 70 mg

8-oz cup of black tea: 45 mg

8-oz cup of green tea: 20 mg

12-oz can of Coca-Cola: 34 mg

12-oz can of Pepsi: 38 mg

8-oz cup of chocolate milk: 20 mg

1-oz dark chocolate: 20 mg

1-oz milk chocolate: 6 mg

8-oz Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Fudge Frozen Yogurt: 85 mg

By these calculations, a person could have about three cups of brewed coffee a day or even several cups of green or black tea and still be in the “safe zone.” However, it is best to disperse caffeine consumption with other beverages such as water and natural fruit juices.

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