In the land of venti pumpkin spice lattes and caramel macchiatos, Americans frequently partake in caffeine fixes. In fact, most people in the U.S. consume caffeine daily, primarily in the form of coffee, tea and energy drinks. But is there such a thing as too much caffeine?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that people consume no more than about five milligrams of caffeine per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight daily, which adds up to around 400 mg for a 79-kg (175-pound) person. Although you may be able to have more without negative consequences, there is theoretically a limit to how much caffeine your body can handle. “You can certainly die from caffeine overdose,” says Jose Antonio, a sports and exercise scientist at Nova Southeastern University. Fortunately, consuming that much caffeine is really, really difficult. “We’re talking multigram doses,” in the neighborhood of 10 grams or more, he says. On average, an eight-ounce (about 240-milliliter) cup of drip coffee prepared at home contains around 100 mg of caffeine, so most people would need to consume more than 100 cups of joe in a single sitting before they started to get into dangerous territory.
The amount of caffeine in a cup of commercially brewed coffee can vary wildly, however. A Starbucks grande dark roast contains about 260 mg of caffeine, while a medium hot coffee from Dunkin’ has 210 mg. And some energy drinks can contain up to 300 mg in a 16-ounce (473-milliliter) can. Caffeine pills and powders can be dangerous if taken in bulk and should be used cautiously.
Excerpted from Scientific American