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Dr. Deborah Rouse-Raines: What’s the Buzz? Are You Addicted to Caffeine?

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Any given morning, I see Moms holding onto their cup of coffee as if it was their last connection to humanity. They savor the warm indulgence, their caffeinated lifeline to daily survival. A steaming cup of brewed coffee has now joined Mom and apple pie as American traditions.

However, in our seemingly innocuous morning habit, we as parents may be modeling such consumption among our children and may be fueling an alarming trend among our teenagers: the ingestion of extraordinarily high levels of caffeine in sports drinks, soda pop, and other beverages. Like their parents, teens have come in ever increasing frequency to depend upon caffeinated drinks to help them navigate their frenetic, jam-packed schedules. The consequences may include irritability, physical addiction, tolerance, and disruption of sleep patterns. And we all know how teenagers need their sleep!!

Doesn’t anyone sleep anymore?

So what is the buzz with our caffeine addictions?

You may be aware that caffeine can cause sleep problems, jitteriness, heartburn, and migraines,. However, you may not be aware that a recent study in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology confirms that high amounts of caffeine increase risk of miscarriage as well. See article

Wow. Strong stuff. But Dr. Deb. Please, don’t tell me to give up the juice.

The good news is that caffeine in moderation doesn’t seem to carry the same risks as do high amounts. So……

How much caffeine is too much?

Most experts agree that 200mg per day seems to be the maximum healthy dose.

What is 200mg of caffeine?

That can be a little tricky to determine because, unlike calories, sodium and cholesterol, caffeine levels are not required to be printed on labels. But have no fear, I have found a website that does a good job listing the approximate amounts. Read with caution, though. That innocuous cup of coffee may in fact be 16 oz of potent caffeine.

Caffeine calculator

For example,

Starbucks Grande coffee = 330 mg in 16oz

Dunkin Donuts=143mg in 16 oz

Instant Coffee =114mg in 16 oz

Old fashioned soft drinks pack a caffeinated punch as well. For example,

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.