Unsurprisingly, caffeine is a hot topic of conversation. Most likely because many of us are addicted to the substance and require a morning coffee to function as a respectable human being. But how much caffeine is too much caffeine?
Today, we uncover the truth and about caffeine and what we need to be mindful of.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates our brain and nervous system, which results in increased mental alertness. It is found in many common drinks, which include coffee, tea, energy drinks and soft drinks. However, this sneaky substance can also be found in foods like chocolate (is this why it is so addictive?) and sports supplements.
As a general rule, 400mg of caffeine per day is suggested. This equates to about 2-3 espressos (depending on the size), or 6-7 green teas.
Benefits of caffeine
Caffeine is one of the most extensively investigated drugs, due to its popularity within the community. The evidence shows that if consumed in healthy amounts, caffeine can have a magnitude of health benefits.
- A reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improved management of Parkinson’s disease
- Increased alertness and focus
- Improved exercise endurance and power exertion
- Mild fat burning effects
Consequences of caffeine
However, there is always a flip side. Not all caffeine-rich fluids contribute to positive health outcomes, like energy drinks, soft drinks or iced coffees. These drinks generally have a large amount of sugar and saturated fat, which increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
It’s also important to note that if we have too much caffeine, we can experience unpleasant outcomes and symptoms.
- An increased heart rate
- An increased risk of anxiety
- Difficulty falling asleep or insomnia
In some populations, caffeine intake is not appropriate. Athletes, children, pregnant women, those who are breastfeeding and those with mental health conditions (such as anxiety), should consider limiting their intake. However, caffeine can still be part of a healthy diet and does not require extensive restriction. We do not need to be mindful of our intake and where we are sourcing the caffeine from.
Do you need some personalised advice?
For a complete assessment of your caffeine intake and recommendations on appropriate sources, book a consult with our Accredited Practising Dietitian. She’s a coffee lover herself, so understands the importance of having a heart-warming coffee. To book a consultation, give us a call on 1300 800 993 or get in touch.