A common debate: Is caffeine bad for you? Is it good for you? Or does it depend?
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), which are published and updated every 5 years, states that caffeine consumption up to 400 mg/day for healthy adults can be incorporated into a balanced lifestyle. This amount drops to 300 mg/day for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 45-85 mg/day for children 4-12 years old. Research shows that this moderate caffeine consumption is not associated with an increased risk of major chronic diseases like cancer or heart disease … as long as your caffeine intake doesn’t get in the way of you consuming a balanced diet of lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables!! Like everything in nutrition, remember the importance of moderation, balance, and variety.
So how much caffeine are you consuming? Not surprisingly, most caffeine intake in the U.S. comes from coffee, tea, and soda.
- ~100 mg per 8-ounce coffee
- ~60 mg per 8-ounce tea
- ~40 mg per 8-ounce soda
*Note these values are for 8 OUNCE servings… if you drink a 20-ounce coffee to start your day, you are already up to ~250 mg of caffeine!
Caffeine sensitivity does vary among individuals and can depend on your amount and frequency of caffeine intake, body weight, physical condition, and overall anxiety level. Tolerance to caffeine develops over time and increases with higher usage.
So, how does caffeine affect you? Does your habit of (…or dependence on!) caffeine drinking take the place of more nutritious foods or beverages? Are you losing out on the opportunity for a healthy breakfast because you are slamming your 5th cup of Joe? Do you pass on a nutritious afternoon snack because your 2 pm soda “hits the spot” instead? Do you only enjoy your coffee or tea because of the added whole milk, creamer, honey, or sugar?
Today’s homework… if you consume caffeine, consider your own caffeine intake habits and how it plays a role in your overall health, food choices, and mood.
If you are looking for ways to decrease your caffeine intake, here are some easy ideas to get you started:
- Cut back gradually on caffeine to avoid any temporary headaches or dizziness
- Mix half of regular coffee with half of decaffeinated coffee
- Opt to drink solely decaffeinated coffee or tea – read the nutrition facts label to confirm
- Brew tea or coffee for less time to reduce caffeine levels
- Keep a bottle of water nearby at all times – you may just want any beverage to mindlessly sip on, not necessarily caffeinated drinks
- Read medication labels carefully – hidden caffeine is found here
- Make your own flavored “energy” water – with natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals infused directly from fresh fruits and vegetables
Need help tweaking your nutrition plan? Looking to create a healthier lifestyle? Click HERE to schedule a free DISCOVERY CALL to find out more about how I can help you! Email [email protected] with any questions!