As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk with a hot cup of Earl Grey Tea secretly wishing I had coffee instead. I adore coffee! Ever since my University days, I have relied on Joe to give me a strong kick in the ass first thing in the morning and to fuel both my productivity and creativity at work. For years I had known that my consumption was on the higher side and that I should probably cut back. But a few weeks ago, I randomly Googled, how much caffeine can I have in a day? and discovered that the answer was way more complicated than I originally thought.
How Much Caffeine Can I Have in a Day?
The FDA recommends that adults consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day (make that 200 mg less if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding). However, everyone has a different threshold for how much caffeine they can tolerate and it’s highly dependent on whether you’re a fast or slow metabolizer. If you’re a fast metabolizer like me, you can likely tolerate up to 400 mg of caffeine a day. And if you’re a slow metabolizer, 200 mg of caffeine is what you should be aiming for.
400 mg of caffeine sounds like a lot, yes? Well here’s where it gets tricky. When it comes to caffeine levels, not all cups are created equal; the amount of caffeine found in coffee is largely dependent on how the coffee is brewed. The figures below give you a rough idea for how wide the range can be.
- Drip or filter: 115 -175 mg with an average of 145 mg
- French press or plunger: 80 -135 mg with an average of 107.5 mg
- Percolated: 64 – 272 mg with an average of 200 mg
- Boiled (Turkish or Greek): 160 – 240 mg with an average of 200 mg
If your curious to find out how much you’re really drinking in a day, you’ll also need to consider the amount of ground used and the blend you’re using, too. And don’t forget all the other sneaky places caffeine likes to hide: teas, sodas, dark chocolate, protein shakes (keep an eye out for cacao powder), pre-workouts supplements and even popular energy bars like Cliff have been known to include up to 50 mg of caffeine per serving! Head spinning yet? It’s probably not just the caffeine.
Signs That You May Be Consuming Too Much Caffeine:
- You’re anxious a lot of the time
- You have trouble sleeping
- You have digestive issues
- You have high blood pressure
- You experience rapid heart rate
- You’re often fatigued
- You experience frequent headaches
- You crash during the day
- You’re immune to the effects of overconsumption
Tips for Cutting Down On Your Caffeine Habit:
If you find yourself experiencing a few of those not-so-nice symptoms, here’s a few tactics I’ve adopted that have given me some relief:
- Cut back on caffeine slowly – do not go cold turkey! You will feel like death run over
- Eliminate one cup of coffee per day. If this is too hard, try pouring a half a cup instead of a full one
- Experiment with half-caff, decaf or other warm drinks
- Take a nap when your energy levels dip
- Drink plenty of water (check out this cool Daily Water Intake Calculator, here)
- Get moving! Even short burst of exercise in the morning or late afternoon can do wonders, helping you feel more energized throughout the day
Compared to my consumption levels a month ago, I’m now consuming half the amount of caffeine per day! It definitely wasn’t easy but I’m proud of myself for sticking with it. And what about you? Do you need to cut back on caffeine too? Or do you have some advice for how to kick the habit for good? Go on and share with me below.