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How many cups of coffee can you drink a day without harming your health: recommendations from scientists

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Doctors have told us how not to abuse caffeine and get only benefits from it

Is coffee good or bad for you? This debate has probably been going on for decades. But today, scientists and nutrition experts, including researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), agree that the main thing is not to exceed the optimal dose, and then the drink will at least not be harmful to health.

But how can you calculate this dose if every nuance is important: age, body weight, individual sensitivity to caffeine, medications, and so on? Scitechdaily has collected some tips on this subject in the form of questions and answers. They will help you optimize your coffee consumption.

What foods and drinks contain caffeine?

Caffeine is a substance that can be found in the plants we use to make coffee, tea, and chocolate, as well as several flavored types, such as guarana or some herbal teas, such as mate or guayusa. Caffeine can also be added to food and beverages, such as cola or energy drinks.

How do I know how much caffeine is in a food or drink?

Information about the content of this substance should be on packaged foods, including food additives. Foods that contain caffeine, including added caffeine, but do not indicate the dosage, should be consumed with caution for the first time.

Information on the amount of caffeine in various products can be freely found on the Internet. But it's important to keep in mind that the data provided here is approximate. Much depends on the strength of the brewed beverage, as well as where and how the coffee beans or tea leaves were grown, how they were processed, and how they were prepared.

If a product is labeled "decaffeinated," does it contain this substance?

No, it doesn't. Decaffeinated coffee and tea contain less caffeine than their regular counterparts, but they are not completely free of it. For example, a cup of decaf coffee can contain from 2 to 15 milligrams. For comparison, regular coffee contains 90-150 milligrams per cup. Therefore, if you have a strong negative reaction to caffeine, consider giving up these drinks altogether.

How much caffeine is too much?

According to FDA recommendations, a healthy adult should not exceed a dose of 400 milligrams per day, which is about four or five cups of coffee. This amount is not usually associated with dangerous negative effects. However, there are big differences in how sensitive people are to caffeine and how quickly they digest it.

In addition, certain medications and health conditions make people more sensitive to caffeine. Women who are planning a pregnancy, carrying a child, or breastfeeding should be careful about its consumption. They should consult their doctor about coffee consumption.

Children and adolescents are not recommended to consume caffeine and other stimulants. The FDA has not even established a safe level of consumption for them.

How do you know if you are abusing caffeine?

Symptoms that indicate excessive caffeine consumption include:

  • insomnia;
  • trembling of the limbs and other parts of the body;
  • anxiety;
  • rapid heart rate;
  • indigestion;
  • nausea;
  • headache;
  • depressed psychological state (dysphoria).

Can caffeine be dangerous to health?

The FDA estimates that toxic effects, such as seizures, can occur with rapid consumption of about 1,200 milligrams of caffeine. This is about 0.15 tablespoon of pure substance. That is why doctors advise you to be very careful about the consumption of food supplements that contain it in its pure form and never exceed the recommended dose.

The risk of caffeine overdose increases with the concentration of the substance in the product, which means that even small doses of a highly concentrated product can lead to dangerous consequences. Just one teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine can contain the same amount as 28 cups of coffee, and 150 ml of a liquid product with a high concentration of caffeine contains the equivalent of more than 20 cups of coffee. This amount is toxic and can cause serious health consequences, including death.

Can the stimulating effect of caffeine replace sleep?

No. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make you feel more alert, but it is not a substitute for a good night's rest. In addition, it is worth keeping in mind that the body metabolizes half of the caffeine from a cup of coffee you drink in about 4-6 hours. Therefore, consuming a drink in the afternoon can prevent you from falling asleep properly.

How can I reduce my caffeine intake without causing unpleasant side effects?

If you're used to drinking caffeinated beverages every day and want to cut back, doctors recommend doing so gradually. Stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, and nervousness. Unlike opioid or alcohol withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal is not considered dangerous, but it can be unpleasant. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your caffeine intake in the best way possible.

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