myFM: The Caffeine Guide - How Much Is Just Right in Your Coffee and Tea?

by Lianne Phillipson March 22, 2024

myFM: The Caffeine Guide - How Much Is Just Right in Your Coffee and Tea?

Caffeine — it's the morning ritual and afternoon pick-me-up we can't seem to live without. Whether it's the rich aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee or the calming warmth of a cup of tea, these beverages offer more than just their flavors.

But how much caffeine is actually in these drinks, and what does it mean for our health?

For healthy adults, 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered safe. This roughly translates to four or five cups of coffee. Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian at EKP Nutrition Communications in New Jersey, reassures that consuming slightly more than this limit won't have fatal consequences. However, it's likely to make the average adult feel anxious and irritable. The stakes get higher with caffeine intoxication, which kicks in at about 1,200 milligrams, or the equivalent of chugging down 12 cups of coffee.

But caffeine's effect extends beyond just a buzz. It increases urination, which means a significant loss of minerals alongside. Coffee and tea are also rich in polyphenols, potent antioxidants that shield our cells from damage. Yet, adding milk or sugar can negate these benefits, something not widely known.

The caffeine content varies significantly across different beverages. A standard 8-ounce cup of coffee holds about 95 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, black tea contains about 50 milligrams, and green tea around 30 milligrams per cup. This means coffee packs twice as much caffeine as black tea and thrice as much as green tea. Interestingly, the caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of drip coffee is equivalent to one and a half shots of espresso.

A common myth surrounds the caffeine content in different roasts of coffee, with many believing that darker roasts contain less caffeine. However, the caffeine content remains fairly constant regardless of the roast. It's the taste that changes, not the caffeine level. So, if you're after more caffeine, simply brew a stronger cup.

Amidst these facts, there's an ongoing debate about decaffeinated coffee, with some states even considering its ban. Decaffeination removes caffeine from coffee beans, offering an alternative for those looking to reduce their intake. Yet, it's essential to understand the process and the reasons behind these legislative moves.

In conclusion, while our love affair with coffee and tea is unlikely to wane, understanding caffeine's effects and how much we consume can help us enjoy our favorite beverages responsibly.

So, the next time you reach for that cup, remember, it's not just about the roast or the type but also how much you're really getting in your daily caffeine fix.

Listen to segment below!

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