March 19, 2019

How Much Caffeine is Too Much? The FDA Has Answers

The FDA has answers to the question: How much caffeine is too much? While caffeine can be part of a healthy diet, too much can be dangerous to your health. The amount that is safe to consume depends on body weight, individual sensitivity, and the medications you take.

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

In general, a 12 ounce soft drink contains 30 to 40 milligrams of caffeine. An 8 ounce serving or green or black tea has 30 to 50 milligrams. An 8 ounce cup of coffee contains 80 to 100 milligrams, and an 8 ounce energy drink contains 40 to 250 milligrams.

For years, the FDA has warned consumers to avoid powdered caffeine since 2014. An 18-year-old teenager in Ohio died after using this product. One teaspoon of the powdered product is the equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. And last year, the government warned consumers to avoid consuming highly concentrated caffeine products that have been linked to at least two deaths.

This compound occurs naturally in the plants used to make tea, coffee, and chocolate. It is also added as an ingredient to many foods and beverages.

It’s interesting that manufacturers aren’t required to list how much caffeine their products contain. Many manufacturers voluntarily provide that information on the label. If you are trying a food that is new to you that contains added caffeine, but the amount isn’t declared on the label, be careful.

If a coffee or tea package states that the product is decaffeinated, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have caffeine. Decaf teas and coffees have less  than regular products, but they still contain some of the compound. Decaf coffee has about 2 to 15 milligrams in an 8 ounce serving.

For healthy adults, 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered a safe amount. But some people are more sensitive to this compound, and people metabolize the compound at different rates. A pregnant or breastfeeding woman will be more sensitive. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the consumption of caffeine by children and adolescents.

Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, jitters, anxiousness, fast heart rate, upset stomach, nausea, and headache. Toxic effects such as seizures can be caused by consuming 1,200 milligrams of the compound, which is equal to about 0.15 tablespoons of pure caffeine.

If you are used to consuming some every day, and want to cut back, do so gradually. Stopping caffeine consumption abruptly can cause nervousness, anxiety, and headaches.

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