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How much caffeine is too much — and tips for cutting back

FEB 08, 2019
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Starting the day with a cup (or 2) of coffee is a daily habit for many people. While caffeine does have some health benefits, drinking too much can affect your well-being. If you’re constantly relying on caffeine drinks to stay focused throughout the day, it may be time to cut back.


How much is too much?


Caffeine is a natural stimulant. For most adults, up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is a safe amount. While you may know that caffeine is in coffee, it can also be found in other drinks and foods — and even in some medications. Drinks and foods with caffeine include:


  • Coffee, brewed drip, 6 oz = 103 mg
  • Coffee, brewed percolator, 6 oz = 75 mg
  • Black or green tea, 16 oz = 60–100 mg
  • Espresso, 1 oz = 40 mg
  • Energy drinks, 8 oz = 75 mg
  • Regular or diet sodas, 12 oz = 35–50 mg
  • Chocolate milk, 8 oz = 8 mg
  • Hot chocolate, 6 oz = 4 mg
  • Chocolate, 1 oz = 8–20 mg

Knowing what items contain caffeine can help you stay within the recommended amount — and consume less throughout the day.


Caffeine and your health


One of the most common — and well-known — effects of drinking caffeine is that it can make it hard to sleep. It can stay in your system and keep you stimulated for a surprisingly long time. So try not to consume caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. And if you’re more sensitive to caffeine — or if you drink too much — you may also experience:


  • Faster heartbeat, which can lead to feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
  • Headaches
  • Stomach issues such as diarrhea
  • Feelings of nervousness, irritability, or anxiety

Tips on cutting caffeine


Quitting caffeine cold turkey can be tough. You may have headaches, nausea, muscle aches, or feel angry, sad, or short-tempered. Instead, try to cut back slowly. To start, you might:


  • Cut back by a cup a day until you reach a healthy amount
  • Mix decaffeinated and regular coffee
  • Brew caffeinated tea a shorter amount of time, so it’s not as strong
  • Switch to decaffeinated tea
  • Drink water instead of energy drinks
  • Limit foods with a high caffeine content

Quitting caffeine can be challenging — so having support can help you reach your goal. Need help? Talk with a wellness coach to get a personalized plan and the support you need to make a healthy lifestyle change. Find out more information about Wellness Coaching by Phone.


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