FTF Friday: How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?!

A post in collaboration with Jen Robinson:

With exam season rapidly approaching, I’m sure this is a question on many peoples minds. How much coffee is too much? Fight the Fads give us the low down…

The thought of skipping the morning coffee makes many of us shudder, especially after a long night of studying for exams! There’s a mixture of information out there about the effects that caffeine can have on your body – some good / some bad.


What’s the good news?

– Some studies have shown that adults who consume low to moderate amounts of caffeine (about 1 cup of coffee a day) have improved cognition, reaction time, and mood.

– Caffeine is a stimulator which will temporarily increase alertness and cognitive functioning.

What’s the bad news?

– Energy drinks are high in sugar and calories: this could lead to weight gain (when consumed in excess).

– Evidence suggests that consuming more than 300 mg can cause anxiety and panic attacks, especially for individuals under stress.

– Caffeine may exacerbate pre-existing heart conditions.

– Headaches, fatigue, tremors and upset stomachs are just a few of the complaints cited in a large double-blind study investigating moderate caffeine consumption. Very high consumption has been linked to more severe side effects.

– Caffeine may disrupt sleep

Putting things into perspective:

The Food Standards Agency say there is no limit of caffeine for healthy individuals. However, general advice suggests limiting your intake to 300-400mg a day (less in children, pregnant women and those with underlying heart conditions). This is equivalent to:

  • 4 or 5 cups of coffee
  • 10 cans of coke
  • 2 energy shot drinks


Most energy drinks, fizzy drinks and chocolate products contain low levels of caffeine: much lower than a cup of coffee! Watch out for added sugar and calories- limit those lattes and cappuccinos! There is no evidence to suggest that energy drinks provide any more benefits than several cups of coffee. Be mindful of the guidelines, watch your intake, and listen to your body. In other words, there’s no reason to give up your caffeine fix; everything in moderation!

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