How Much Caffeine Is Too Much Caffeine (cont.)

Medical Reviewer:

Coffee is what comes to mind when most people think "caffeine." Many items contain caffeine (energy drinks, teas, and some foods) but about 75 percent of the caffeine consumed in America comes from drinking coffee. That's not a bad thing because drinking coffee has been linked to a lot of benefits recently. These may include a decreased risk for:

But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. "Most of the benefits of drinking coffee come from ingredients in the bean other than caffeine. When it comes to the caffeine itself, there is a limit to how much is beneficial," says Everett.

Amounts of Caffeine in Food and Drinks

Coffee may be the most common source of caffeine, but there are a lot of other sources. Cup for cup, tea has about half as much caffeine as coffee. Other sources include colas, energy drinks, over-the-counter medicines, chocolate, gum, and some snack foods.

When it comes to the amount of caffeine in drinks, don't try to guess how much by the size of your beverage. "The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea depends on how they are brewed. Different brands can have different caffeine levels. One small energy drink could have the same amount of caffeine as a huge cup of coffee. You need to read labels," says Everett.

Here are some examples (in milligrams) of how much caffeine is in some typical foods and drinks:

  • 20 ounces Dunkin' Donuts with Turbo Shot: 436
  • 20 ounces Starbucks coffee: 415
  • 23.5 ounces Jolt energy drink: 280
  • One caplet of NoDoz: 200
  • 16 ounces McDonald's coffee: 133
  • Two Excedrin Migraine tablets: 130
  • 8.4 ounces Red Bull: 80
  • 8 ounces brewed black tea: up to 80
  • 16 ounces Snapple lemon tea: 62
  • 8 ounces brewed green tea: up to 60
  • 12 ounces Pepsi MAX: 69
  • 12 ounces Coca-Cola: 35
  • One piece of Jolt gum: 45
  • 4 ounces of Dannon coffee yogurt: 30
  • One Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar (1.5 ounces): 20
  • One Hershey's Kiss: 1

You can get the complete list of caffeine amounts in food, drinks, and drugs at the website for the Center for Science in the Public Interest: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm.

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