Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ask-A-Nutritionist (Rob)

Q: How much caffeine is too much to have in one day, and what are the adverse effects? -Rob

A: Hi Rob,

More than 2 cups of coffee, or from 100-200 mg of caffeine, can produce anxiety and nervousness, and upset stomach. But caffeine is found in many products, from energy bars and sodas (Diet Pepsi Max has 70 mg), to ice cream (40 mg in a half-cup cup of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch). There’s even a brand of oatmeal that has the equivalent of a cup of coffee per serving for your morning jolt.

While 1-2 cups of coffee improve alertness, memory and even physical endurance, caffeine has its drawbacks. Caffeine may relieve an occasional headache, but it also increases the risk of migraines, if you are prone to them. And if you’re using coffee to sober up, you’re even more likely to have an accident. The caffeine masks the effects of the alcohol, but you are still not in control of your reactions, making for a dangerous mix.

Bottom line: aim for no more than 1-2 cups of coffee per day.

Rachel S. Beller, MS, RD
Beller Nutritional Institute, LLC

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