Wednesday 12 June 2024
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Caffeine: Here is how much coffee you should drink every day

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MILAN – Caffeine is used daily by millions of people to increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue, and improve concentration and focus. According to scientists, caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people, but too much caffeine may pose a danger to your health.

Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks.

Keep in mind that the actual caffeine content in beverages varies widely, especially among energy drinks. Otherwise, you can always enjoy decaf, which is tasty and healthy.

So, how much caffeine is safe to drink? Here is the opinion of Melissa Meier, a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian, published on the website body+soul.

As an avid coffee lover, I too relish in my daily cuppa. But if you’re a more-than-one-a-day kinda gal, you might be wondering how much coffee is actually too much (if that’s even such a thing?!). To set the record straight, here’s your dietitian-approved answer.
The caffeine

Here’s a quick lesson on caffeine 101. Caffeine is a naturally occurring component of many plant foods – one of them being coffee beans. Apart from coffee, you’ll find it in a range of products, including tea, chocolate, energy drinks, cola drinks and even some baked goods. Classed as a stimulant, caffeine is responsible for the increased mental sharpness and buzz you feel after you down a brew.

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Now to answer that burning question… If you’re an otherwise healthy adult, 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is your recommended maximum intake. Keep in mind you shouldn’t consume any more than 200 milligrams of caffeine at any one time. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your daily cap is just 200 milligrams.

To put that into perspective, one espresso (250 millilitres) contains up to 110 milligrams of caffeine. Percolated coffee, on the other hand, is far stronger, and can contain up to 240 milligrams in the same amount.

Theoretically, that means you could pop by your local brew house for up to three lattes a day and still be under the 400mg limit – but that’s without consuming caffeine from any other sources.

Caffeine overload

In case you’re wondering, consuming too much caffeine can have some rather unpleasant side effects.

To start with, you might find yourself frequenting the loo more often, and you could experience fatigue, headaches and restlessness. Having too much caffeine can negatively affect your sleep, too – and no one wants to deal with that.

The extras

When it comes to coffee, the caffeine isn’t the only thing you need to consider. If you’re sipping on several milk-based coffees a day, you could be adding hundreds – if not thousands – of extra kilojoules to your diet.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with drinking milk (it’s actually packed with muscle-building protein and bone-strengthening calcium) – but a problem could arise if you’re drinking copious amounts of it (I’m talking weight gain and a lack of nutrients from other foods).

In case you’re not aware, one cup of full cream milk contains 703 kilojoules (168 calories), while a cup of skim milk contains 355 kilojoules (85 calories).

Something else to be aware of is the not-so-healthy extras that might come along with drinking coffee – the sweet syrups, the granules of sugar and of course, the irresistible cakes, slices and pastries sitting atop the café counter. Of course, enjoying a decadent treat every once in a while is no big deal, but if you’re adding one of these to your coffee order every day (or worse, multiple times a day), your health will likely suffer.

The verdict

Like all things in the world of nutrition – too much of anything isn’t a wise idea. So, if you’re partial to a cuppa, I’d recommend you take the time to wholeheartedly enjoy one a day (maybe two if you really feel like it), but don’t let it become an addiction or a replacement for healthy, core foods.

Melissa Meier

CIMBALI

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