by Victoria Zhou
Grabbing a ‘cup of joe’ in the morning is part of many individual’s daily morning ritual. But how much caffeine is a healthy amount to consume? And is having that extra boost of caffeine ultimately beneficial or harmful to one’s health?
An average cup of coffee has 102-200 grams of caffeine. However, not every cup is created equal and the quantity of caffeine can vary between different preparations and types of coffee. In a national study, it is estimated that 85% of the U.S. population consumes at least one caffeinated beverage per day. Caffeine consumers between ages 50-64 had the highest daily caffeine intake; coffee is the primary contributor to caffeine intake in all age groups. Other sources of caffeine include carbonated soft drinks, tea, and energy drinks. Even decaffeinated coffee still has a little caffeine! It is recommended to try and minimize your caffeine consumption to less than 400 mg per day. Safe amounts of caffeine for adolescents have not been established it is important to caution adolescents against mixing caffeine with alcohol and other drugs.
Many of us are familiar with some of the wonderful benefits that caffeinated beverages offer including improvement in mental awareness and focus, cognitive performance and even athletic performance. And a nice big cup of coffee is what gets many individuals through a long work day after a sleep deprived night. There are even studies showing possible long-term benefits of caffeinated beverages including reduced risk of Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. In that case, in light of all these potential pros, who shouldn’t drink caffeine? Patients with certain heart problems and gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers, should avoid caffeine. Pregnant and nursing women should also minimize their caffeine intake. The best resource to find out if consuming caffeine is medically safe for you is by asking your doctor for their recommendations based on your personal health needs.
My name is Victoria Zhou (Vicki) and I am in my third year of medical school at the University of Rochester. I am a member of the Latino Medical Student Association. My future goal is to specialize in internal medicine or emergency medicine. In my free time I like to run and bake desserts.