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A Little Too Latte

Ah, caffeine. Who doesn't like a morning cup of coffee or tea? Entire cultural rituals have been built around them. Well, fortunately, it turns out caffeine isn't all that bad for us. In fact, evidence shows they may have some health benefits. So, what it boils down to is how much is too much?  The reputable Mayo Clinic has an answer:

Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, or two "energy shot" drinks. Keep in mind that the actual caffeine content in beverages varies widely, especially among energy drinks.

The answer is, it's different for everybody, but some general guidelines to keep you within safe consumption limits is to have only a couple of cups in the morning and either stop or switch to decaf after noon. 

Since Starbucks is ubiquitous and famously caffeinated, here is a chart of coffee and tea drinks to give you a sense of how many milligrams of caffeine are in each:



Short (8 fl oz)

Tall (12 fl oz)

Grande (16 fl oz)

Venti (20 fl oz)

Blonde Roast

180 mg

270 mg

360 mg

475 mg

Brewed Decaf Coffee

15 mg

20 mg

25 mg

30 mg

Caffè Mocha (also flavored Mochas)

90 mg

95 mg

175 mg

185 mg


75 mg

150 mg

Caramel Macchiato

75 mg

75 mg

150 mg

150 mg



Black Tea

8oz:     40 mg

Green Tea               8oz:    15-25 mg


*Herbal teas (Chamomile, Roobois, Passion, Mint, etc) are all caffeine-free*

A sensible approach would be to have a few 5-8 ounce cups of brewed coffee before noon. If you need a small pick-me-up later, try decaf or tea.  Unfortunately, even a small amount of caffeine later in the day can impact your ability to fall asleep, so if you find that you’re sensitive, try herbal tea instead. In large doses, caffeine leads to headaches, a racing heart, and an upset stomach. Some people with heart conditions like atrial fibrillation find that they're pretty intolerant. As we age, we tend to be a little more sensitive to caffeine as well. One of the main impacts that can have is on your overall hydration. It is a recognized diuretic, though there is some debate about how much it can dehydrate you.  That said, my experience is that it can be quite dehydrating, so if you find you “dry out” with caffeine, drink plenty of water to counteract the effect.

Here is an excellent article that answers many questions that come up when discussing caffeine consumption.

Dr. Jon Doctor, Entrepreneur, Founder of Aveo Wellness

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