How Much is Too Much Coffee?
On the day a major coffee chain announced it was doubling the coffee (espresso shot) content of all its beverages, UK news reports have voiced concerns about the nation's caffeine intake.
Is Caffeine Bad?
The answer seems to be that caffeine can be dangerous, but not so much as many other drugs, so it's fine in moderation. Hmm.
It's a stimulant to the heart and central nervous system, of course, so it's certainly dangerous to anyone already suffering from high blood pressure, and it's recommended that pregnant women keep intake to a minimum as high intake (above 200mg/day) has been linked with low birth weight and miscarriage.
But for the Rest of Us? What Happens if We Take in Too Much?
Symptoms of excessive caffeine intake include mood changes and poor attention, nausea and shakes, poor calcium levels resulting in weak bones and breakages, iron deficiency (if taken during mealtimes) and a possible risk of cancer.
How Much Caffeine is OK?
Much like with alcohol, the exact amount considered safe will vary according to your weight, health, metabolism etc, but a report by Health Canada suggests that healthy adults are not at risk if they limit their caffeine intake to 400mg/day.
According to the NHS, the amount of caffeine found in one mug of instant coffee is about 100mg (140mg in filter coffee), while tea contains about 75mg per cup and a can of cola offers 40mg. A single espresso shot can contain up to 150mg. Perhaps surprisingly, a milk chocolate bar can contain 25mg and a dark chocolate bar can contain 50mg.
So assuming these new coffees, with their double shots as standard, have around 200-300mg of caffeine, we could be up to or over the limit by drinking just two a day. I can say for sure that as I sit here typing in a coffee house, there are people 'overdosing' left, right and centre.Continued on the next page