How Much Caffeine are You Drinking?

The other day, I was answering health questions for AOL.com employees. As they are, in general, a young and fit group, I was unsure the kind of questions I would be fielding. I had all my sex, drugs and rock and roll answers ready to go.

Turns out, the biggest concerns were about coffee and wine. With this sign on my table, I should’ve seen the wine questions coming.

The caffeine question deserves some more attention.

How much caffeine are you ingesting each day?

Coffee  95-200mg

Decaffeinated Coffee 2-12mg

Black Tea 14-61mg

Green Tea 24 -40mg

Arizona Iced Tea 11mg

Soda 30mg

Red Bull 80mg

These quantities are based on an 8 oz drink, so keep that in mind when you are ordering your Venti or drinking a 16oz bottle of Diet Coke.

Why does it matter?

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 mg per day is safe for an adult, children should avoid caffeine entirely and adolescents should limit intake to 100 mg/day. My seventh grader and her friends are just starting to dabble in the Starbuck’s world. A caffeine addiction can start early, so keep an eye on the kids.

The question of whether or not it is addictive remains unanswered, but the need to have it first thing in the morning, the withdrawal symptoms and the long lines at Starbuck’s make a strong common sense argument for its addictive potential.

Too much caffeine can cause irritability, insomnia, palpitations, tremors and stomach upset. It also causes dehydration, can worsen some medical conditions and coffee can yellow your teeth. If you aren’t sleeping well or have come to rely heavily on your cup of jo, try to cut back.

Tips for Cutting Back on Caffeine

– keep track of how much you drink (you may be surprised)

– cut back, but do so gradually or you will be intolerable

– switch to half and half (1/2 caffeinated, 1/2 not caffeinated) and then eventually, decaf

– if you are a tea drinker, seep your leaves for less time

– impose a caffeine curfew on yourself by avoiding it after noon

Well said:

Matthew age 5, very mad at his mom because she won’t let him have candy before dinner, “I am sending you to jail, and in jail, mom, there is no coffee and there is no wine.” He really knows how to hurt!

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