How much caffeine is too much?
Wednesday, 5 August · 2 min read

Do you like to start your day with a cup — or 3 — of freshly-brewed coffee? Have you ever asked yourself just how much caffeine is safe to drink or eat?

According to The Food and Drug Administration in the US, caffeine can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet, but you should limit your intake to 400mg of caffeine a day — that’s 4 or 5 cups of average-strength coffee.

Caffeine is also found in chocolate, tea, energy drinks and even some painkillers.

Research suggests 400mg of caffeine shouldn’t harm your heart, but too much caffeine can increase blood pressure and your heart rate.

If you’re pregnant, the UK’s National Health Service recommends reducing this to no more than 200mg of caffeine (about 2 cups of coffee) a day, as too much can result in miscarriage or low birth weight.

If you’re regularly drinking more than the recommended daily intake and you want to cut down, try:

  • choosing water, milk, fruit juice, smoothies or decaffeinated drinks over ones with caffeine
  • reducing the number of energy or fizzy drinks you drink — these can have high quantities of caffeine
  • reducing your chocolate intake — this also has some caffeine

It’s best to reduce your caffeine intake slowly to minimise any potential side effects, like headaches.

Quote of the day

Coffee first. Schemes later.

Leanna Renee Hieber, author

Quick Quiz
How much caffeine does 1 energy drink contain?