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How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine Should You Consume Daily?

We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!

If you feel like you need a jolt of caffeine to get started in the morning, you're not alone. About four-fifths of the world's population drinks coffee on a daily basis, but how much caffeine is too much? Let's talk about the benefits of caffeine and how much you should consume each day.

Caffeine can...

  • Give you a quick boost of energy and help you focus on tasks at hand.
  • Help you work out longer and harder when consumed just before exercise. Because caffeine seems to block signals of muscle fatigue, both cardio and strength training feel easier, letting you work harder or go faster without noticing extra exertion.
  • Provide a temporary boost in metabolism. The caffeine in one cup of coffee temporarily revs metabolism by up to 15 percent, torching an extra 15 to 25 calories.
  • Prevent disease, possibly. Some studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee may help prevent Parkinson's disease. And a recent study found that women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression over the 10-year study period, compared with women who consumed one cup or less per day. Women who drank decaf didn't show a similar reduction in depression rates.

Learn the dangers of too much caffeine after the break.

However, too much caffeine can...

  • Disrupt sleep. For people who are sensitive to caffeine's effects, it can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, especially if it is consumed in the latter half of the day.
  • Cause anxiety and nervousness. That same buzz that provides quick energy can lead to feelings of anxiety when consumed in excess.
  • Lead to an upset stomach. If too much caffeine is consumed, especially on an empty stomach, it can lead to stomach pains and digestive issues.
  • Result in headaches and difficulty concentrating. While studies have shown a little caffeine is helpful for focusing and concentrating, too much can cause the reverse effect.
  • Produce an irregular heartbeat. When large amounts of caffeine are consumed (like in diet pills, for instance), it can lead to a racing heart or irregular heartbeat.

So how much caffeine is too much?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for most people, 200 to 300 micrograms of caffeine per day (two to three cups of coffee) won't cause any negative effects.

If you're feeling too dependent on caffeine to jump-start your morning, try these ideas to cut back on your consumption:

  • Cut your caffeine intake in half by mixing decaf and regular.
  • Substitute coffee with decaffeinated and herbal teas.
  • Eliminate other sources of caffeine from your diet, such as sodas, cocoa and some cold medicines (check ingredient labels).

As with most foods that don't contain essential nutrients, the key to caffeine intake is moderation.

Related Links:
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Image Source: Shutterstock
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MikeBudd MikeBudd 3 years
Hello, With all respect, I would like to emphasize the list of benefits that you can get from a moderate coffee consumption: with friends doctors we did a global review of recent medical studies, you know that there are thousands of them but we have selected 40 important ones to our point of view and the balance between health risks and benefits are clearly in favor of benefits. Of course these studies are observational studies and not interventional but still the results show a decreased risk factor on many more conditions than the ones that you mentioned (Parkinson's disease and depression): you can add type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, several cancers (head and neck, basal cell carcinoma, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, oral, esophageal and pharyngeal cancer, aggressive men's prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma), cirrhosis, gallstones and gallbladder disease, gout, dry-eye syndrome and even dental caries. You will find all medical references here: On the other hand the risks that you mention are also proven and come with an excessive consumption, but I thought that it was worth mentioning all positive effects linked to a few cups per day. I fully agree on your conclusion, valid for so many other products: "the key to caffeine intake is moderation". Cheers, Mike
TheLittleMonster TheLittleMonster 4 years
2-3 cups per day is exactly what I do, and my friends think I'm crazy. I use it to fuel my AM workouts, get through a long shift at work and have no trouble sleeping by the time I actually get to crawl into bed. Caffeine is a lifesaver, and like with anything in moderation can be a good thing.
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