The Coffee Buzz…..

I love coffee. You may have guessed that from the title of the blog…Coffee Beans and Greens…but I mean seriously, LOVE coffee. I’m probably (M will say definitely) addicted to the caffeine, and I do drink quite a bit of coffee over the course of the day. And I also have to admit that I am addicted to Starbucks….if I don’t get my daily dose (usually two), I’ll have a caffeine headache all day.

Am I drinking too much coffee? How much is “too much?”

Well, my daily dose consists of 1 – 1.5 cups (12 oz mugs) of brewed coffee at home. M and I like the Trader Joe’s French Roast. But no matter how strong I make it, I will inevitably get a Grande Starbucks midmorning, and then a half-calf refill later in the afternoon. Some days, I’ll have two Grande Starbucks, but then skip the half-calf in the afternoon. According to the nutrition pamphlet provided by Starbucks retail locations, a Grande cup of Starbucks coffee can have around 300 mg of caffeine. And my home–brewed coffee might average about 95 – 200mg per 8oz according to this article by the Mayo Clinic. If I pick an average figure of 150mg for my 8oz coffee, and have 1.5 12 oz mugs, I’m consuming just over 300 mg right there…before my trip(s) to Starbucks. According to another article by the Mayo Clinic, most people can tolerate 200 – 300mg of caffeine a day without any negative side effects, but more than 500 – 600 mg can have some negative side effects like insomnia, anxiety, restlessness etc.

Hmmm….I am a night owl, and I used to have issues with insomnia…but not so much anymore (touch wood!). So should I consider cutting back? If I’m not experiencing any negative side effects, then the argument might be no….but then again, if I find myself dependent on coffee to wake up, feel alert, feel energized then maybe cutting back would be a good idea. If I (and other individuals in a similar situation) experience intense headaches or irritability if we do not get our “caffeine fix,” then we may have a serious addiction to the substance, and cutting back may be advisable.

An addiction or dependency on any external substance, whether it’s a stimulant (like caffeine) or a depressant, can become debilitating if an individual has difficulty functioning without it. In my case, I know that I do get irritable and have a headache without my caffeine fix – so I am certainly trying to cut back. That – and my Starbucks habit can get expensive on a daily basis 😦

So what would be considered a “healthy balance” for coffee? It may be 1 – 2 cups for many people (let’s be honest and say 12 oz mugs and not the 8 oz myth of what a standard coffee cup is in most coffee houses). But again, this number will vary depending on the individual. Some people may be able to tolerate more coffee without any negative side effects, whereas others may feel that 1 –2 mugs is too much. A healthy balance is really what works for you….without making you feel dependent on the substance. If you can enjoy a cup or two of coffee most days without any negative effects like insomnia, anxiety etc, and not feel irritable or deprived if you do not have it on any particular day, then you’re probably at a healthy balance. 

Some of us, including me, are not quite there yet….but we’re working on it….right? 😉

coffee beans

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Posted on October 28, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Melanie Sullivan

    I understand the need for java. I too am addicted to Starbuck’s. I now have a gold card with them which helps me earn free coffee and other perks. The baristas now know me by name and always seem happy to see me. I used to be able to drink coffee at night but now I stick to decaf. Too much caffeine gives me insomnia. A day is not complete without my daily dose of coffee!

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