Health,  Nutrition

Downsides of too much caffeine

Written by Robert Connolly

The pace of everyday life seems to effortlessly increase over the years, and we find ourselves looking for that little burst of extra energy. While a proper diet and adequate sleep are the best practices for keeping energy levels optimal, it is just too easy to reach for your favorite cup of coffee or tea for a quick dose of caffeine. The average American adult drinks 300 mg of caffeine per day, which has more than doubled since 1999 [2], and is approaching the FDA recommended daily limit of 400 mg or less per day [3]. Numerous studies support the health benefits of caffeine such as boosting your mood, metabolism, mental, and physical performance [1], but understanding when excess caffeine begins to wane the positive health effects is vital. Let’s take a look at some of the potential downsides of too much caffeine.

Blood pressure

“It’s pretty clear that caffeine increases blood pressure in the short term, and this spike seems to be stronger in people prone to hypertension. This acute response is also much more pronounced in people who don’t normally ingest caffeine. But these acute effects wear off after around 4 hours. What’s less clear is caffeine’s long-term effects on blood pressure.[2] The overall long-term effects are inconclusive,[3] with the big picture being obscured in part to different responses seen with pure caffeine ingestion and studies involving caffeinated beverages such as coffee,” according to examine.com. [4]

examine.com

Caffeine consumption likely causes a short-term spike in blood pressure after consumption, with the spike being more pronounced in those who don’t normally ingest caffeine and in those with hypertension. However, the evidence concerning the long-term effects of caffeine and caffeinated beverages on blood pressure is mixed.

Eye pressure

Examine.com continues, “Caffeine may also affect the pressure inside of the eye. A meta-analysis looking at acute caffeine ingestion found that it significantly raises the pressure inside the eye of people with glaucoma, as well as others with pre-existing high eye pressure (ocular hypertension). People with normal eye pressure, however, were unaffected.[6] 

“This concords with observational evidence which also found an association between eye pressure and caffeine intake in people with open-angle glaucoma, although this study didn’t find an association in those with ocular hypertension.[7]

Caffeine may raise eye pressure, but only in those who have pre-existing eye conditions like glaucoma.

Acid reflux

“One study on people who consumed more than three cups of coffee per day found that an acute dose of caffeine mixed with water lowered the pressure exerted by the lower esophageal sphincter, which holds the contents of the stomach down.[8] This could in theory lead to acid reflux since the contents of the stomach could more easily come up. It’s interesting to note that this effect was seen in people who regularly ingest caffeine,” states examine.com.

Caffeine can promote conditions leading to acid reflux, even in people who regularly ingest caffeine.

Top 50 drinks available on the market with the highest amount of caffeine (mg).

With access to caffeine easily available to us, especially with the emergence of coffee shop mega-franchises, the daily milligram consumption can run away from us quickly. Some beverages on the market even exceed the recommended daily limit by 400% with just one 12 fluid ounce serving. Stay vigilant on knowing your daily levels of consumption to avoid any of the potential short-term or long-term negative side effects of excess caffeine.

source [2]
Drinkfl ozCaloriesCaffeine (mg)mg / fl oz
Black Label Brewed Coffee1201555129.6
Very Strong Coffee1201350112.5
Taft Coffee (EU)120118298.5
High Voltage Coffee (AU)120115095.8
Black Insomnia Coffee120110592.1
Cannonball Coffee Maximum Charge (UK)120110191.8
Biohazard Coffee12392877.3
Death Wish Coffee12072860.7
Starbucks Bottled Iced Coffee4824064013.3
Stipe Miocic Extra Strength Coffee12050041.7
Killer Coffee (AU)8.46043050.8
Coffee Bean & Tea leaf Coffee16533320.8
Stumptown Nitro Cold Brew11333030.0
Starbucks Grande Coffee16531019.4
Caribou Brewed Coffee16530519.1
Death Wish Canned Cold Brew81530037.5
Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee242029712.4
Wawa Coffee16429018.1
Sunup Green Coffee156028519.0
7 Eleven Brewed Coffee16528017.5
Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew Coffee16528017.5
Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee10.5327926.6
Costa Coffee8.69027731.9
Peet’s Brewed Coffee16526716.7
Robusta Coffee8026533.1
Dunkin’ Cold Brew24526010.8
Seattle’s Best Brewed Coffee121026021.7
Starbucks 2X Coffee Pods8026032.5
Dunkin’ Donuts Extra Charged Coffee141025218.0
Starbucks Canned Nitro Cold Brew11023521.4
Baskin Robbins Cappuccino Blast244702349.8
Chameleon Cold Brew RTD101023023.0
Dripdash Kyoto Coffee6022537.5
Starbucks Grande Caffe Americano161522514.1
Starbucks Iced Americano161522514.1
Dunkin’ Donuts Brewed Coffee14521015.0
Einstein Bros Coffee16020612.9
Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee16520512.8
Biggby Brewed Coffee16020012.5
Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee81520025.0
Gothrider Gasoline Coffee8020025.0
Tim Hortons Large Brewed Coffee20520010.0
Maxwell House Max Boost Coffee8019624.5
Panera Bread Coffee1618911.8
Dutch Bros Coffee (Classic)20101879.3
Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew1625018511.6
Califia Farms Cold Brew Coffee81018022.5
La Colombe Cold Brew9518020.0
Starbucks Bottled Cold Brew115018016.4
Wide Awake Energy Coffee1519018012.0
Source: caffeine informer [5]    
source [2]
  1. Healthline.com
  2. 45 Alarming Statistics on Americans’ Caffeine Consumption – TheDiabetesCouncil.com
  3. Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? | FDA
  4. The downsides of caffeine intake | Examine.com
  5. caffeine informer

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