How Much is Too Much?

Are you constantly tired, groggy, and even sometimes jittery? These symptoms could be due to caffeine use or even overuse. Yes, caffeine in moderation can be beneficial  both mentally and physically, but how much is too much? If you find yourself struggling to wake up and get out of bed in the morning, like me, then you know what it’s like to need that caffeine first thing in the morning. Something that is often overlooked is just how much caffeine is in our food and drinks throughout the day. Do you know how much caffeine is in a grande coffee from Starbucks or that chocolate bar you treat yourself with?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a moderate dose of caffeine should be about 200-400milligrams/day. How much caffeine are you drinking each day?

Here is a list of common drinks and the amount of caffeine in each:

  • 8 ounces brewed coffee: 135 milligrams
  • Grande Starbucks Coffee: 330 milligrams
  • Monster Energy Drink: 316 milligrams
  • 5 hour energy: 208 milligrams
  • 9 Hershey’s Kisses: 9 milligrams
  • Brewed tea, black (8 ounces): 30-80 milligrams
  • Arizona Iced Green Tea (16 ounces): 15 milligrams
  • Glacéau Vitaminwater Energy: 50 milligrams

Information taken from Center for Science in the Public Interest
If you’re getting more than 500-600mg/day, you could be experiencing side effects such as insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors, and even the jitters. Although it seems like the caffeine gets you through studying, you might be having trouble paying attention in class or focusing on your assignment if you are jittery.

So how can you deal with your caffeine use?

1. Write it down. How much are you consuming throughout the day? Use this helpful website to monitor your caffeine intake. Try an app on your cell phone. Apps like Caffeine Content, Caffeine Zone 2 Lite will help you track your caffeine intake.

2. Cut back. Instead of having 3-4 caffeinated beverages a day, try only having 1-2. Also, instead of going for the biggest size, get your same favorite drink but get it in a small size, you can still enjoy it without the extra caffeine.

3. Go Decaf. You can still enjoy soda, coffee, and tea, just opt for decaf to limit your caffeine consumption.

4. Exercise. This is a great and healthy alternative to caffeine that helps boost energy and improve concentration, which will help with school!

The bottom line is caffeine is okay in small doses. If you find you are using more caffeine than 2-4 cups of coffee, consider some lifestyle changes to boost your energy. Staying hydrated, exercising, and getting enough sleep (7-9 hours) can have the same effect as caffeine.

Written by Ashley Stewart, Peer Educator

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