With the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, we often find ourselves starting our day with a cup of java, or reaching for a latte when that afternoon lull hits. Although many enjoy the effects of caffeine for that extra push or enjoy socializing over a cup of their favourite brew, I often hear people asking “How much is too much?”
As we know, we;re not all built the same. While some people benefit from positive effects in limited quantities, others can be extremely sensitive and feel anxious, jittery and have difficulties sleeping with even the smallest amounts.
Despite controversy, for the average healthy adult moderate caffeine consumption does not appear to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or cancer. In fact, it does not pose any health risks if consumed in amounts within the recommended limits set out by Health Canada:
- For the general population of healthy adults, no more than 400 mg/day (this is equivalent to about three 8 oz cups…no that it is not 3 large cups at your favourite coffee shop. A standard large is about 20 oz which would almost put you at your daily limit with just one serving!)
- For Pregnant and breastfeeding women this decreases to no more than 300mg/day
- For children it is much lower and new recommendations have been made suggesting no more than 45 mg for children aged 4 – 6, 62.5 mg for children aged 7 – 9, and 85 mg for children aged 10 – 12.
Keep in mind that these amounts are for your total daily consumption of all things caffeine. According to Health Canada, we get about 60% of our caffeine from coffee and about 30% from tea…so where does that other 10% come from?
Along with these popular drinks, many are aware that caffeine is also found in cola drinks (about 45mg per 355ml can) and chocolate (~7mg per 1 oz. milk chocolate). A source that many are not aware of is some drug products like cold and headache remedies. It’s worth looking into as some may contain as much as 1000 mg per daily dose!
Now last but certainly not least…the controversial energy drink. Now this is where it can start to get tricky. With such a wide variety of options, and such little regulation, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. Not only do some contain as much caffeine as three 8oz cups of coffee, there may actually be more caffeine than what is listed on the label. By law, caffeine is only required to be listed on labels if it is added as a separate pure substance. Other ingredients found in many of these drinks like guarana and yerba mate also contain caffeine naturally, so although they would have to be listed as ingredients, their caffeine content does not..confusing right?
With all of this said, listen to your body. If it makes you feel good, go for that afternoon pick me up. If you feel better without, you might benefit from a nice walk to stretch out those legs and get some fresh air!