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Just the Facts: Caffeine

Whether you wake up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee every morning or you simply enjoy the occasional cup of tea, you’re probably somewhat aware of the fact that people have consumed foods and beverages containing caffeine for thousands of years. Because of its stimulating effects and consequential popularity, it is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply. Even so, controversy and misconceptions surround caffeine regarding its effects and how much of it is safe to consume. 

If you’re like most adults, caffeine is an integral part of your daily routine. But more than 500 to 600 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day, or about four to seven cups of coffee, can cause restlessness, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, nausea or gastrointestinal problems, fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, and other problems. 

For most people, moderate doses of caffeine – 200 to 300 mg, or about two to four cups of brewed coffee a day – aren’t harmful. But some circumstances may warrant limiting or even ending your caffeine routine. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above on a regular basis, you should rethink your caffeine intake, and that starts with knowing how much you’re actually consuming. 

Here is a quick guide to the approximate amount of caffeine (in milligrams) in various beverages. Energy/sports drinks, foods, medications/herbal supplements, and a number of other things are not listed here, but you should keep an eye on your level of consumption when it comes to anything that contains caffeine.

Coffee
Decaffeinated 8 oz., 2 mg
Espresso, 1 oz., 64 mg
Plain 8 oz., 95 mg
Starbucks Coffee Grande, 16 oz., 330 mg

Tea
Black tea 8 oz., 47 mg
Green tea 8 oz., 30-50 mg
Black tea, decaffeinated, 8 oz., 2 mg
Sobe Green Tea, 8 oz., 14 mg
Starbucks Tazo Chai Tea Latte, 12 oz., 75 mg

Soda (8 oz. servings)
Coca-Cola Classic, 35 mg
Diet Coke, 47 mg
Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, 54 mg
Pepsi, 38 mg

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