A good part of the population heavily relies on caffeine to properly function. Coffee in the morning, soda at noon, and chocolates for snacks, and whatever caffeinated drinks in between to rid of sleepiness. When your deadline is in an hour, you have no choice but to hope that your sixth cup of coffee would do its job.
But the question is, how much caffeine is too much caffeine? How many cups of coffee a day should you drink? Is there a limit to soda intake? Here, we answer the frequently asked questions on caffeine.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. It stimulates the brain and central nervous system, giving it a jolt of alertness and prevent tiredness.
What food and beverages contain caffeine?
As mentioned, caffeine can be commonly found in fruit, leaves, beans of coffee, and cacao. Aside from these, it is also added to different beverages and supplements.
The common food and beverages where caffeine is usually added are:
- Energy drinks
How much caffeine is too much caffeine?
For healthy adults, 400 milligrams of caffeine a day – about four or five cups of coffee, or ten cans of cola, or two energy shots drinks – is safe and not associated with any negative caffeine effect. However, this is only a recommended amount and the effects still depend on the person, on how sensitive they are, and how fast their metabolism breaks it.
Certain medical conditions and medications can make people more sensitive to caffeine. It is highly recommended to talk to your health care provider about your caffeine intake if you are pregnant, trying for pregnancy, breastfeeding or if you are taking medications.
There’s no set level for children but pediatricians highly discourage children and adolescents to consume caffeine.
How to know if you are over-consuming caffeine?
Over-consuming caffeine can cause:
- fast heart rate
- upset stomach
Benefits of Caffeine
Improve energy levels. One of the reasons why people love coffee so much is that it rids of tiredness. This is mainly because coffee contains caffeine. Once our bloodstreams have absorbed the caffeine, it travels to our brain and enhanced the firing of neurons, which resulted to increase energy levels.
Helps burn fat. Caffeine can be found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement. Studies show that it can boost your metabolic rate and is one of the natural substances to burn fat.
Reduces the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies show that lifelong caffeine consumption might reduce the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. The same goes for Parkinson’s Disease, where a study also concluded that those with higher coffee consumption have lower risks of developing the said condition.
Memory booster. Johns Hopkins University suggested that drinking coffee after a learning session helps with long-term memory.
Risks of Caffeine
Depression. If you are already diagnosed with depression, you might have to lower your caffeine intake. Research published in Korea in 2016 found out that higher caffeine intake is linked to a higher risk of severe depression.
Blood Sugar. People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes observed a rise in blood glucose levels after caffeine consumption. There is some evidence that linked caffeine to an impairment in insulin action, which contributes to a small but detectable rise in sugar levels.
Insomnia. When you consume coffee 3 to 6 hours before bedtime, there is a higher chance of sleep disruption.
How to cope up with caffeine withdrawal?
If you noticed that you are consuming an unhealthy amount of caffeine every day and want to limit it, do it gradually. Don’t abruptly stop, doing so can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, anxiety, and nervousness.
However, caffeine withdrawals are not dangerous but they are not exactly the most pleasant feeling in the world. If you are unsure of how to proceed or if you are already experiencing withdrawal symptoms that affect your daily life, it’s best to consult your health care provider about it.