It’s time to talk about caffeine. Many of us simply cannot start our days without a cozy cup of tea or a piping hot latte, and we truly couldn’t imagine life without our daily dose.
If you require more than one cup a day to keep you going, you may be drinking too much coffee, and we’re here to tell you exactly how much caffeine is too much for your body to consume safely.
It may be hard to imagine living a caffeine-free life, so the good news is, caffeine is safe in moderation for most of us (except if you’ve got a health condition like stomach ulcers or a heart condition, in which case you should discuss safe caffeine intake with your doctor). But it is true that too much caffeine can kill you, though the risk is small for even the biggest coffee addicts.
New York City-based physician Robert Glatter recently told USA Today, “It would likely take anywhere from 50-100 cups of coffee to result in a lethal dose of caffeine. That said, pure powdered caffeine can be lethal if a teaspoon of it is consumed at once. The recommended dose of powdered caffeine in this form is just 1/16th of a teaspoon.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that healthy adults stick to caffeine consumption under 400 milligrams a day. That means a healthy adult can enjoy four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee daily without dangerous or negative effects, which seems pretty reasonable.
“Mixing caffeine with alcohol is a dangerous practice because it may lead to higher levels of alcohol consumption as the person often believes and feels they are more alert,”Dr. Glatter said. “The risk of alcohol poisoning increases as people consume more alcohol because they feel the caffeine will keep them awake and alert.”
Yes, caffeine tolerance varies from person to person, but young people and women will have much lower tolerances to caffeine than adult men. Dr. Patricia Broderick, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Caffeine Research, told Vice that “women are much more susceptible to the effects of caffeine than are men,” and the FDA has not set any safe level of caffeine consumption for children.
But before you cut up your Starbucks gold membership card, this may just be a matter of observing the effects of caffeine on your own body. If you can enjoy your morning latte and feel no ill effects, you likely have nothing to worry about. But if even a small amount of caffeine makes you feel unwell, you may want to experiment with cutting back or sipping decaffeinated beverages.