Caffeine.. How much is too much?

Do you need that cup of coffee each morning to wake you up?  Or a mid-afternoon to give you that extra added push?  I read an interesting fact lately that said about four-fifths of the world’s population drinks coffee on a daily basis.  There has also been a large increase in the amount of people using pre-workout drinks to help bust out that extra rep in the gym.  But, how much is too much?

Caffeine can…

Give you a quick boost of energy and help you focus on tasks at hand.

Help you work out longer and harder when consumed just before exercise. Because caffeine seems to block signals of muscle fatigue, both cardio and strength training feel easier, letting you work harder or go faster without noticing extra exertion.

Provide a temporary boost in metabolism. The caffeine in one cup of coffee temporarily revs metabolism by up to 15 percent, torching an extra 15 to 25 calories.

Prevent disease? Some studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee may help prevent Parkinson’s disease. And a recent study found that women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression over the 10-year study period, compared with women who consumed one cup or less per day.

However, too much caffeine can…

Disrupt sleep. For people who are sensitive to caffeine’s effects, it can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, especially if it is consumed in the latter half of the day.

Cause anxiety and nervousness. That same buzz that provides quick energy can lead to feelings of anxiety when consumed in excess.

Lead to an upset stomach. If too much caffeine is consumed, especially on an empty stomach, it can lead to stomach pains and digestive issues.

Result in headaches and difficulty concentrating. While studies have shown a little caffeine is helpful for focusing and concentrating, too much can cause the reverse effect.

Produce an irregular heartbeat. When large amounts of caffeine are consumed it can lead to a racing heart or irregular heartbeat.

So how much caffeine is too much?
The average intake for Americans is around 400 mg which is about four 8-ounce cups of coffee. Anything over that may result in negative side effects.  Most pre-workout mixes contain approximately 200 mg of caffeine per serving.

How to cut back on your consumption:

Cut your caffeine intake in half by mixing decaf and regular.

Substitute coffee with decaffeinated and herbal teas.

Eliminate other sources of caffeine from your diet, such as sodas, cocoa and some cold medicines (check ingredient labels).

The key to caffeine intake is moderation.

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