Caffeine: the most common normalized drug most Americans consume on a daily basis.
You depend on it to wake you up and get you through your morning.
You depend on it to pep you up before your mid day meeting with your boss or to motivate you before leg day in the gym.
Some of us can’t even hold a conversation without having that first morning cup.
I get it and trust me; I’m not one to judge.
DYK: About 68 million Americans drink three cups of coffee every single day and about 30 million Americans drink five or more cups of coffee a day.
That’s a lot of brewing.
When it comes to consumption, how much is too much? What amount, if any, is considered excessive?
According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day seems to be safe for most adults. That’s equivalent to the amount of caffeine in four cups of coffee, ten cans of soda or two "energy shot" drinks.
Although 400mg of caffeine is considered safe to consume by adults, there can be negative side effects for people who are sensitive to its affects or for certain individuals who take specific medications so make sure you check with your doctor before consuming high amounts of caffeine.
Ladies who are pregnant or who are trying to get pregnant and/or are breastfeeding should speak with their doctors about their caffeine consumption. Usually doctors advise no more than 1 cup per day but again, double check with your doctor.
Although caffeine might be safe for adults, young people should limit caffeine use. That’s because caffeine can increase anxiety and cause sleeping problems. With stress, anxiety and depression on the rise, especially among the younger demographic, high amounts of caffeine should be limited.
So you’re an avid caffeine drinker. Cool. What are some signs that you might need to cut back on caffeine? If you experience…
Headaches and/or migraines
Increased heart rate
Keep in mind how you respond to caffeine is directly correlated with how much you’re drinking.
People who don't consistently drink caffeine will be much more sensitive to its antagonistic effects. That’s because of the bodies’ ability to adapt and build up a tolerance.
Different components also play a role in how caffeine interacts in the body. These factors consist of your weight, age, medication usage, and food intake.
Caffeine tolerance is a real thing and if you feel like you’re drinking a ton of coffee without reaping its benefits, you may want to consider cutting back for a while to get your tolerance back down.
Cutting back on caffeine isn’t easy but sometimes it’s necessary. If you’re trying to cut back, consider taking the following steps:
First, monitor your consumption
Start keeping tabs of the amount of caffeine you're taking in. If you’re unsure of how much you drink, there’s only one way to find out: monitor it for 3 days and then take the average of those three days. Most coffee franchises like Starbucks post then amount of caffeine in their drinks on their website which can be found here.
Start to slowly cut back
It might be challenging in the beginning which is why cutting back slowly is key. Doing something like altering the size of your drinks can go a long way. For example, instead of your morning venti sized coffee from Starbucks, consider a Grande instead. Also, hold off on drinking caffeinated beverages later in the day to help you sleep better at night.
Consider going decaf
Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste exactly like the real thing AND they still have a little bit of caffeine in them to give you a little boost. Consider swapping out some of full caffeine drinks for decaf or going half and half (half normal coffee, half decaf).
If you’re a tea drinker, abbreviate the brewing time
When making tea, blend it for less time. This decreases its caffeine content. Or consider homegrown teas, which don't have as much caffeine.
Check your pain relievers and/or vitamins
This one might be surprising to some but some over-the-counter pain relievers may contain caffeine so make sure you’re taking caffeine free vitamins, herbal medicines and pain relievers. Even if you don’t think there is caffeine in your medicines, it’s always a good idea just to double check.
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