We all love a cup of coffee, be it hot, cold or in a cone.
Sometimes, it’s the only thing that gets you through a day in the office.
And when you’ve got to wake up so goddamn early for work, it’s no wonder you need a bit of stimulation to keep going.
But can you have too much of a good thing?
Apparently, 90% of the world uses caffeine in some form or other – be that in their morning lattes or fizzy pops.
And it seems, products in the UK and Denmark have a higher caffeine content than those in the States.
This means that we (both adults and children) tend to have a higher caffeine intake than our American friends.
How much caffeine is in what we drink and what’s the maximum that we should be drinking?
The University of Washington has examined the amount of caffeine present in everyday drinks and foods, including Dannon Coffee Yogurt (45mg), Milk Chocolate (15ml) and Sprite (0ml).
Coffee a tall (340ml) Starbucks coffee = 260mg
Tea 340ml = 180mg
Red Bull 250ml can = 80mg
Diet Coke bottle of 500ml = 67.5mg
Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream one cup = 40-60mg
Decaf 340ml = 11.3mg
The recommended daily allowance of caffeine for adults is up to 400mg – that’s the equivalent of two cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two energy drinks.
OK, 10 cans sounds quite excessive, but only two coffees? Really?!
So what happens if you downing a lot of coffees a day?
Well we’re talking of an intake of more than 500-600mg of caffeine a day – which does sound quite a lot. If you’ve ever had a dissertation to write, you’ve probably chugged down tins of Relentless like they were Evian and experienced a few of the following symptoms:
- Stomach upset
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremours
And as any cola fiend knows, it can be kind of addictive.
Of course, the prominence of these side effects depends on your body mass, age and overall health too.
Medications and supplements can have an affect on how caffeine works in the body
Various antibiotics can interfere with the breakdown of caffeine and as such increases the length of time it stays in the body and can amplify its effects.
And bizarrely, something as innocuous as Echinacea – a herbal supplement which is used to prevent colds – can increase the concentration of caffeine.
So, can you actually OD on caffeine?
Short answer, yes.
You’ve got to consume a hell of a lot but it can result in arrhythmia, tachycardia, vomiting, convulsions, coma and…death. You read that correctly.
Two people have even died from caffeine overdose.
To die from caffeine, you’d have to consume over 5g of the stuff (which is ridiculously loads).