1.) You Can’t Count Cups
You may have heard that a cup of coffee averages 100 milligrams of caffeine, but remember a cup is only 8 fluid ounces. How large is your cup of morning Joe? You might need to do some number crunching.
2.) You’re Not Sleeping Enough
There’s no disputing that caffeine is a stimulant and some folks find that they are more sensitive to it than others. Be smart – if you know that taking in caffeine later in the day disrupts your sleep – skip it and get some zzzzzz’s.
3.) You’re Dehydrated
Caffeine affects people differently. For some, the buzz of caffeine causes the kidneys to release more fluid. Make sure the amount of caffeine in your diet isn’t leading to dehydration.
4.) You Don’t Know Where Caffeine is Hiding
Coffee, tea and soda are obvious sources, but there’s also caffeine in chocolate, bottled iced teas and energy drinks. Even drinks labeled “caffeine-free” or “decaffeinated” contain small amounts. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications contain caffeine too. The FDA recently launched an investigation to further study the large number of food manufactured adding caffeine to products like gum, jelly beans, yogurt and even waffles.
5.) You’re Topping 500 Milligrams
Slurping down too much caffeine can also cause nervousness, irritability, stomach upset, and muscle tremors. While it’s still unclear whether caffeine is truly addictive for everyone – coffee drinkers who’ve kicked the habit may beg to differ. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have identified a handful of symptoms consistent with “caffeine-withdrawal syndrome.” The amount of caffeine in five cups of coffee (or less for some stronger varieties) has been associated with a variety of symptoms including stomach upset, headaches, birth defects in pregnant women, nervousness and irritability. For this reason, it’s vital to take inventory of ALL the ways caffeine makes its way into your body and cap it below the 500 mark.
Tell Us: How much caffeine are you taking in?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »