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Caffeine, Coffee, Tea, Cola & Energy Drinks




  1. Could you tell us how the caffeine content of soda, chocolate and decaf compares to coffee? Answers
  2. I consume 8 to 9 cups of coffee and some cola through out the day. Answers
  3. My doctor prescribed 50 milligrams of beta-blockers and a caffeine-free diet. Answers
  4. My big problem is cola. I am totally addicted and get headaches when I try to avoid it. Answers
  5. Does caffeine affect the absorption of certain vitamins or minerals like iron? Answers
  6. I am concerned about caffeine consumption during pregnancy. How much caffeine is in chocolate? Answers
  7. Is caffeine banned by the Olympic Committee? If so how much? Answers
  8. Does coffee make gout worse and should people with gout limit their intake of coffee? Does caffeine enhance sports performance? Answers
  9. Does caffeinated pop give us hiccups? Answers


  10. It seems that when I drink coffee I get a headache. Answers
  11. I prefer tea to coffee, but I've heard that tea has as much caffeine as coffee. Is that true? Answers
  12. I'm worried that I'm drinking too much coffee. How much is too much? Answers
  13. I work shift work and my doctor told me to cut down on coffee. Should I just cut the coffee out cold turkey? Answers
  14. I'm having problems getting to sleep at night. How much coffee is too much at night? Answers
  15. I am going to be in a 100-mile bike race in July and have heard that some caffeine may help me last longer and go faster. Is that true? Answers


We were wondering several things. We are concerned about the health risks of caffeine and wonder if you could tell us how the caffeine content of soda, chocolate and decaf compares to coffee (how many milligrams of caffeine for one serving of each?) Also, we have heard caffeine depletes calcium content. is this true? Many thanks.

Read below for caffeine content of soda, chocolate, decaf and regular coffee. Caffeine does not deplete calcium. Phosphorus does. Carbonated beverages and high protein diets increase calcium losses.


Hello I am doing a report for my foods class on the effects of caffeine as a way to help myself. I consume 8 to 9 cups of coffee and some cola through out the day. I was wondering if you could email me with an address where I could receive this info on the web or if you could email me with some info on the effects that caffeine has on the body and why you feel dragged out when you try to quit drinking it. I hope you can help me with this as I need it. Thank You.

Irrelative of your age, you are drinking way too much caffeine. There is even some research to suggest that excess caffeine may stunt your height, so depending on your age, I would cut way down to less than 3 cups of coffee per day which also equals 6 caffeinated sodas. So if you had 2 cups of coffee (5 ounces each) and 2 sodas, you would hit the recommended limit for caffeine.

Don't quit cold turkey as you will experience caffeinism or caffeine withdrawal. Cut down slowly. Read below for more info on the effect of caffeine on your body and energy levels.


I've recently been diagnosed with a mild case of mitral valve prolapse. My doctor prescribed 50 milligrams of beta-blockers and a caffeine-free diet. The only things she mentioned to avoid were coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas and anything containing chocolate. Are there other foods that contain caffeine or is my list above complete? Thank you.

You've got the small list of foods that inherently have caffeine or have caffeine added during the manufacturing process. Also, energy drinks often contain caffeine.

There is no database of caffeine containing foods and what information is available is very limited since caffeine is not required on the current food label by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). I would recommend you read food label ingredient lists for caffeine ingredients.


Just did the Healthy Body Calculator. Didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. My question is I'm overweight, I don't eat too much. I try to buy everything lite. My big problem is cola. I am totally addicted and get headaches when I try to avoid it. I've been told to try diet pop, but I can't stand the taste of the sweeteners so that's out. Someone told me to get some caffeine pills. Is this an option I should try or do you have another suggestion?

You are experiencing caffeinism if you get headaches when you reduce your intake of caffeine containing beverages. First I would recommend you gradually reduce your intake of cola based carbonated drinks if you want to lose weight. All sugar sweetened carbonated beverages are a waste of calories - just sugar, no nutrients. If you don't like the taste of sugar free carbonated drinks, then don't drink them.

Don't go cold turkey, but reduce 1 can per day every 2 or 3 days. Replace that can with a can of fruit juice or plain water.

Would not recommend you get caffeine pills to replace the caffeinated soda as they contain 100 - 200 milligrams of caffeine per pill. This is about the equivalent of 1 - 2 cups of coffee without the water. Caffeine stimulates your heart muscle, is a diuretic which stimulates your kidneys to remove more water from your blood and basically keeps you awake. The effect of caffeine lasts up to 10 hours so it can keep you up later at night or cause you problems falling asleep. If you are using caffeinated beverages to stay awake during the day, perhaps you need more sleep at night. If you got off caffeine, I think you would find that you could stay awake without it and would have smaller peaks and valleys of awareness during the day.


In your section on caffeine, you recommend that to reduce intake to limit a cup of coffee to one a meal. Does caffeine affect the absorption of certain vitamins or minerals like iron?

I could be way off, but I thought that it was better not to have caffeine with meals. Please set me straight on this one. Thanks.

My suggestion for 1 cup (5 ounces) of coffee per meal is so people can keep track of how much coffee they drink, not because of the effect coffee has on food. You could drink 3 coffee cups all in one meal or 2 cups at one meal and one cup at another. Just don't exceed 3 cups (16 ounces) of coffee per day because of the caffeine content. Most people need some kind of cue to keep track of their eating.

Another thought is since one 5 ounce cup of coffee is the amount in one coffee cup, 10 or 15 ounces of fluid like coffee would make a person feel full faster. It is likely that a person drinking 2 or 3 cups of coffee at a meal may eat less simply because their stomach is filled to capacity.

If anything, caffeine helps absorption because it increases the secretion of acid by the stomach which is needed for some nutrients like protein and vitamin B12. However, food also stimulates the secretion of acid by the stomach which is necessary for digestion which starts in the mouth.


I am concerned about caffeine consumption during pregnancy . I would like to know how much caffeine is in chocolate products such as plain dark chocolate, chocolate ice cream and chocolate milk? Is there caffeine in other less obvious food items?

Also, what is a safe amount of caffeine during pregnancy? Is there a safe amount? I drink only decaffeinated tea or coffee, but have trouble staying away from chocolate altogether. Looking forward to your response.

Being a lover of dark chocolate, I wanted to get you some info on caffeine in chocolate. Unfortunately caffeine is not a required nutrient on the U.S. food label so you won't be able to check the Nutrition Facts panel on the food you eat. You can though read the list of ingredients on food packages to find foods with caffeine added like carbonated and energy drinks. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has caffeine values for individual foods. Sorry there is no list of just caffeine content of foods and foods must be looked up individually in the USDA database.

Food Caffeine
Baking unsweetened chocolate 1 ounce square 23 milligrams
Chocolate flavored syrup 1 ounce or approximately 2 tablespoons 2 milligrams
Chocolate ice cream regular to rich type 1/2 cup 2 to 6 milligrams
Chocolate milk low fat beverage 8 ounces 5 milligrams
Chocolate milk reduced fat beverage 8 ounces 2 milligrams
Cocoa mix powder prepared with water 6 ounces 4 milligrams
Dark chocolate semi-sweet 1 ounce (60 baking chips) 18 milligrams
Milk chocolate 1 ounce 6 milligrams


For comparison:
Food Caffeine
Coffee brewed from grounds 8 ounces 95 milligrams
Coffee decaffeinated brewed from grounds 8 ounces 2 milligrams
Ice tea 12 ounces (Arizona bottled type) 18 milligrams
Tea brewed 8 ounces 47 milligrams depending on how long you steep
Tea decaffeinated brewed 8 ounces 2 milligrams


Small amounts (like that found in a moderate serving of chocolate above) of caffeine are probably safe during pregnancy, but larger amounts of caffeine found in coffee and tea can be harmful. So you can probably continue to eat some chocolate products as long as you do not exceed a moderate serving. You should talk to your doctor about using caffeine and how much he / she feels would be safe for your baby.


You mentioned that caffeine was banned by the Olympic Committee. This is only on the order of a dose of several (I believe it is 1.6) grams. An 80 kilogram adult would only take a dose of around 400 milligrams (5 milligrams / kilogram of body weight). This also would have been taken roughly four hours prior to the workout. Caffeine serum levels peak around 4 hours after oral administration. They, of course, peak immediately after IV / IM administration. The sugar-sparing effects of caffeine are due to the increased blood adrenaline levels (caffeine is a mild sympathomimetic in higher doses).

Originally the IOC (International Olympic Committee) banned caffeine, but that has been reversed. The amounts of caffeine you mention (400 milligrams) are about twice the maximum recommended for anyone. At that rate, the person will probably experience caffeinism.


Just a couple o' comments (questions/answers) regarding the subject of the possible effects of caffeine on gout and sports physiology.

I found a HUGE Website on coffee (etc.) which included chemistry etc. of caffeine. Correct me if I'm mistaken in my interpretation of their information: specifically that caffeine is a purine that is normally metabolized to uric acid. Therefore I'd imagine that gouty people should certainly limit their intake of it (as well as beverages containing related chemical stimulants, tea with theophylline and chocolate with theobromine), though I've never found any recommendation of that (not even in your dietary restrictions for gouty people).

Next, regarding enhancement of sports or exercise physiology, true that it enhances burning of fat, but my experience has been that the over stimulation (say from a cup o' coffee or worse still from a power-drink, like Black Booster, consumed about 30 min before exercise) is likely to cause more injuries from "Superman" (or "Superwoman") effect. You feel you can push much more than what you would normally (ought to be) training with!!

By the way, thanks for the WONDERFUL contribution you are making to global fitness and health. It still doesn't cease to amaze me how MUCH valuable information one can fetch at the flick o' a switch. One almost doesn't need a doctor for diagnosis of common minor or major ailments. Best regards!

Caffeine belongs to a group of chemicals called xanthines which include theophylline (used in the treatment of lung diseases like emphysema and asthma) and theobromine (found in chocolate). Xanthines stimulate the nervous system and can cause people to feel restless, nervous or unable to fall asleep. Xanthines belong to a chemical group called deoxypurine which is where the impression that coffee is not allowed by people with gout. The quantity of xanthines in caffeine is very low (less than 15 milligrams per 3 1/2 ounces) compared to the purine contribution by some proteins. So while xanthine from caffeinated beverages may contribute to uric acid production, its contribution is very small. Caffeine (more than 4 cups a day) has been found to lower uric acid levels whereas tea has no effect on uric acid levels. So it must be something other than caffeine in coffee that is having an effect on uric acid levels. Caffeine is excreted in urine as methyl xanthine and methyluric acid as a product of metabolizing caffeine. Methyluric acid can trigger gout in rare cases, but not in most persons with gout.

Uric acid which causes painful gout is a by-product of purine metabolism which occurs in the liver. In persons with gout, an excess amount of purines is produced and the end product which is uric acid crystallizes in joints which cause painful arthritic symptoms. Meals high in protein seems to accelerate this process therefore foods high in protein and organ meats where purines are metabolized are limited in gout nutrition therapy. Caffeine containing beverages are not limited in gout nutrition therapy for persons who need to limit purines. The main treatment is drug therapy.

FYI, beverages containing caffeine have been found useful in the treatment of attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, which work, in tandem with stimulant drugs like Ritalin. They are absorbed within 30 - 60 minutes after drinking and half the effect lasts for 5 afterwards (10 hours total). On the other hand, caffeine passes into breast milk and becomes a stimulant for a nursing infant. Half the effects of caffeine can last 30 to 210 hours in infants up to 6 months of age. Daily caffeine consumption reduces insulin sensitivity and the effect lasts for 12 hours after consumption of caffeine.

With regards to caffeine use prior to exercise, please read my sports nutrition topic and search for caffeine. New research has not shown that caffeine increases fat burning or spares glucose, but instead may reduce fatigue due to central nervous system stimulation. Caffeine is not prohibited by the Word Anti-Doping Agency (founded by the International Olympic Committee) that monitors drugs in athletes.

P.S. Medical doctors are the only health professionals that can diagnose a minor or major ailment. The Internet is a good place to search for health information. Just make sure that the person providing information has credentials to support the type of information being given.


Does caffeinated pop give us hiccups?

Caffeine would not give you hiccups. The carbonation in the pop (also called soda) you drink may though.


It seems that when I drink coffee I get a headache. I could never understand this. I drink 2 cups per day (caffeinated) regular coffee. The headache starts hours after I drink the coffee or sometimes the next day. I would appreciate any input you would have concerning this problem. It certainly is a problem for me as I LOVE coffee. Thanks.

How many ounces are in your coffee cup? Many people now use 16 ounce coffee mugs which contain the equivalent to three regular 5 ounce coffee cups and 300 milligrams caffeine. Does decaffeinated coffee give you headaches? How many ounces of caffeinated beverages do you consume in a 24-hour period? How about caffeinated carbonated beverages like Coke, Pepsi, Jolt, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, Mellow Yellow, Sunkist Orange Soda, Big Red, Aspen or Kick? Do you drink sports or energy drinks with caffeine like No Name (formerly called Cocaine), SoBe No Fear, Rock Star, Monster Energy, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, Full throttle, Tall Boy, Enviga or Red Bull. Do you use any medicines that contain caffeine, including over the counter drugs like Excedrin Extra Strength & Migraine (65 milligrams per tablet), Anacin (32 milligrams per tablet), Anacin Advanced (65 milligrams caffeine per tablet) No-Doz (100 milligrams per tablet) or Vivarin (200 milligrams per tablet)?

Caffeine often improves symptoms for persons with headaches or migraines. However, you can get headaches if you suddenly quit consuming caffeinated beverages (cold turkey). Perhaps that is what you are experiencing if your headaches occur hours later or the next day.

Do you drink enough fluids? You should be drinking enough water so that your urine is colorless and odorless after urinating in the morning.

You should write down any caffeine containing foods that you eat and when you eat them, including coffee, tea, carbonated beverages (include energy drinks) and chocolate (include chocolate candy or desserts, chocolate milk or cocoa). Keep a log of every headache, rate the intensity from 1 to 10 and the duration as well as any medication you took for the headache.

On day 1, drink your usual 2 cups of coffee. On day 2, do not drink any caffeine containing beverages. When did you get headaches? Then drink usual 2 cups of coffee for 5 days in a row. When did you get headaches?

Take this documentation to your doctor to discuss your headaches. He / she is the appropriate person to diagnose the cause of your headaches.


I prefer tea to coffee, but I've heard that tea has as much caffeine as coffee. Is that true? I make about two cups of tea from one tea bag. I've been reading a lot about caffeine lately.

The caffeine content of a tea bag brewed for five minutes is about 47 milligrams for an eight ounce cup, according to the USDA. Compare that to coffee made from brewed grounds. The caffeine content is about 95 milligrams for an eight ounce cup, depending on the amount of ground coffee added to eight ounces of water. So, tea contains about 50% of the caffeine found in coffee. If you make two cups from one bag, the total caffeine you get will probably closer to 60 milligrams depending on how long you steep the tea bag both times.




I'm worried that I'm drinking too much coffee. How much is too much?

The current recommendations regarding caffeine are less than 15 ounces of coffee or less than 30 ounces of tea per day. In 2002 (latest results available), the average man drank the equivalent of 10 ounces of coffee or 22 ounces of tea and the average woman 8 ounces of coffee or 16 ounces of tea.

Whenever a person tells me, he or she drinks more than three cups per day, I recommend a gradual reduction in coffee or tea drinking to three cups or less. An immediate switch to the same amount of decaffeinated coffee or tea will produce symptoms of caffeine withdrawal (irritability, headache and inability to work effectively, nervousness, restlessness and tiredness). If you currently drink more than three cups, cut down by one cup per day every three or four days until you are down to three cups per day. This will help reduce the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. While you are cutting down, you can replace one cup of caffeine-containing coffee for one cup of decaffeinated coffee. Sometimes, it is hard to keep track of how many cups of coffee you drink per day. Limit yourself to one cup of caffeine-containing coffee per meal. If you want more coffee, make the next cup decafe. Also, try to avoid drinking all three caffeinated cups at the same time.


I work shift work and my doctor told me to cut down on coffee. I bring a thermos of coffee to work, so I do need the caffeine. But, it's giving me irregular heartbeats. Should I just cut the coffee out cold turkey?

Symptoms of too much caffeine (headache, tremor, nervousness, irritability, increased sensitivity), results from an intake of 200 to 500 milligrams of caffeine daily (two to five cups of coffee or four to ten cups of tea). Depending on the size of your thermos (1 quart?), you may be drinking four cups just at work. In addition, how much coffee do you drink when you are not at work?

If you are having irregular heartbeats, you need to follow your doctor's advice and cut down on your coffee drinking. But don't stop cold turkey or you will probably suffer from caffeine withdrawal. In addition to the irregular heart beats, you probably experience some of the other symptoms of caffeinism listed above.

Persons who work different shifts do have problems adjusting and often use caffeine-containing beverages to stay awake. Eat a meal containing lean meat before work to help you stay awake. Meat and other protein foods will help you stay awake. Starches or sweets high in carbohydrate, high fat foods and large meals will make you sleepy.

Make sure you get enough sleep before work, especially when you work 11 P.M. to 7 A.M. These are the most difficult hours to stay awake.




I'm having problems getting to sleep at night. I'm worried that my dinner coffee may be keeping me awake. How much coffee is too much at night?

Caffeine only takes 15 to 20 minutes to get into your blood and the caffeine effect lasts up to 10 hours. If you have problems falling asleep at night, avoid all caffeine-containing foods for 10 hours before bedtime. The effect of caffeine in foods lasts this long too. Foods that contain caffeine in addition to coffee and tea are cola containing beverages (Mountain Dew; Dr. Pepper; Mr. Pibb; Mellow Yellow; Big Red; Aspen; Kick) including energy drinks and beverages or foods containing chocolate or cocoa.


I am going to be in a 100-mile bike race in July and have heard that some caffeine may help me last longer and go faster. Is that true? If so, how much caffeine should I take?


Sports researchers have studied the positive effects of small amounts of caffeine on athletes by reducing fatigue. Caffeine-containing beverages like unsweetened coffee, tea or diet cola beverages have also be used in research studies. Individual tolerance does vary according to caffeine sensitivity. Do you drink caffeine-containing beverages on a regular basis? If not, even a small dose would cause you significant nervousness.

The International Olympic Committee does not prohibit the use of caffeine in their competitions. However, it may impair hand steadiness, which may be a concern for some athletes.






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