Caffeine in mountain dew

How Much Caffeine Are You Really Drinking?

By Murray Carpenter, Special to Everyday Health

Whether you chug coffee by the gallon, sip tea delicately, or travel everywhere with a diet soda in hand, chances are you love caffeine. It’s America’s favorite stimulant, and most of us take the drug, in one form or another, every single day. But how much do you really know about it? Here are six things you probably don’t know about caffeine.

1. It Doesn’t Take a Lot of Caffeine to Have an Effect

A big cup of coffee can have more than 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. This will provide a definite kick, even for people who drink coffee regularly and have developed some tolerance to caffeine. But even 40 mg of caffeine — about the amount in a cup of tea or a can of soda — will give most people a subtle boost. In fact, many people can detect the effects of just 15 mg of caffeine, about the amount in a single sip of strong coffee or a large cup of decaf.

2. Caffeine Is the Not-So-Secret Ingredient in Soft Drinks

For more than a century, since they were marketed as tonics for fatigue, the makers of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other bottlers have carefully blended caffeine into their soft drinks. In the old days, the drinks were much stronger — a 1911 Coca-Cola had the same caffeine concentration as a modern Red Bull. Unlike the solid jolt in a strong cup of coffee, the caffeine in soft drinks is mellower. It is just enough to make you feel good — and be more likely to buy that soft drink again. In this way, caffeine reinforces the habit of drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

3. Energy Drinks Are Not Hyper-Caffeinated, Compared to Coffee

An 8.4 ounce (oz) can of Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine. Most cans of Monster and Rockstar are about twice that size, and have twice the caffeine. But a 16-oz cup of coffee from Starbucks, a grandé, typically contains about 320 mg of caffeine. That’s the caffeine equivalent of four cans of Red Bull, or two cans of Monster. And, surprisingly, some soft drinks have about the same amount of caffeine as a Red Bull: a 20-oz bottle of Diet Coke has 76 mg of caffeine, and a 20-oz bottle of Mountain Dew has 91 mg of caffeine.

4. Caffeine Has Some Not-So-Surprising Health Costs

Some people can drink coffee from the second they wake up until the moment they go to bed and still sleep like babies. But most people are not wired that way, and even a late afternoon cup of coffee is enough to keep us from easily falling asleep at night. Caffeine’s effect on sleep can also be more subtle: Even a morning cup of coffee can disrupt the later stages of sleep early the following morning. For anyone with sleep issues, it is worth reducing your caffeine use, or quitting altogether for a few weeks, to see if it will help. Less commonly, caffeine can also trigger anxiety in some people — even full-blown panic attacks. Finally, pregnant women are often advised to limit their daily caffeine consumption to 200 mg or less, due to concerns about the effect it may have on a developing fetus.

5. It Also Has Some Surprising Health Benefits

Coffee and tea have gotten a lot of attention for their abundance of healthful antioxidants, and caffeine also has some lesser-known health benefits. Emerging research suggests that it might play a role in staving off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Strangely, caffeine may also guard against skin cancer. A 2012 paper found that drinking caffeinated coffee is associated with a lower incidence of basal cell skin cancers. And more recent research found that drinking caffeinated coffee was associated with reduced incidence of melanoma, a rarer but more dangerous form of skin cancer. A new study looked at 5,600 Swedish and U.S. adults and found that those who drink between four to six cups of coffee a day were approximately one-third less likely to develop multiple sclerosis, compared to non-coffee drinkers.

6. Caffeine Is an Athlete’s Friend

Endurance athletes now use caffeine strategically to help them improve their times in bike races, marathons, and triathlons. A dose of 3 mg to 6 mg per kilo of body weight — 250 mg or more for a 180-pound athlete — can have a significant effect. For most athletes, it will improve their times by 1 percent to 3 percent in a race that is about an hour long. Companies like Gu and Clif are now making caffeinated gels and energy bars specially formulated for athletes. Couch potatoes can benefit, too. One study showed that sedentary men worked out more vigorously on exercise bikes after taking a caffeine capsule, rather than a placebo.

Murray Carpenter has reported caffeine-related stories for The New York Times, NPR, and Wired Magazine. His work has also been featured in the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and other media outlets. He holds a degree in psychology from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. He lives in Belfast, Maine. Follow him on Twitter

Caffeine in pregnancy: How much is too much?

You’ve probably heard that you should limit the caffeine in your diet during pregnancy. Caffeine is a legal and unregulated stimulant, known for its ability to increase our alertness. It’s found in the fruit, leaves and seeds of certain plants. We mainly consume it in infusions extracted from the seeds of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as other foods and drinks made from the kola nut. You may be wondering why caffeine is a problem, and which foods and drinks are OK to include. This article aims to provide the answers to your caffeine-related questions.

Why should caffeine be limited during pregnancy?

Caffeine is metabolised slower during pregnancy and can cross the placenta from mum’s blood into the baby‘s bloodstream. Developing babies lack the enzymes to break down caffeine, so the caffeine stays in their bodies for longer, causing potentially detrimental effects.

Research shows that women who drink too much caffeine during pregnancy have a higher risk of delivering a low birth-weight baby. One study showed that women who consumed over 200mg of caffeine a day had 20-60% higher risks of having a low birth-weight baby. Low birth-weight babies are more at risk of becoming obese and developing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease in later life. For these reasons, the Department of Health recommends that caffeine should be limited to 200mg per day during pregnancy.

Guidance on how much caffeine is safe

You can use the table below to check if you’re having a safe intake of caffeine:

Food / drink Amount of caffeine (mg)
Coffee* – 200ml mug filter 140
Coffee* – 200ml mug instant 100
Tea – 200ml mug 75
Cola – regular or diet 330 ml can 40
Cola – regular or diet 500ml bottle 60
Dr Pepper & Pepsi Max – 500ml bottle 95
Energy drinks** e.g. Monster, Red Bull, Irn Bru, Lucozade Alert – 240ml can 80-100
Hot chocolate – 200ml mug Up to 10
Chocolate milkshake – 250ml glass 5-8
Chocolate – 50g bar plain Up to 50
Chocolate – 50g bar milk Up to 25

* Café-style coffees, e.g. lattes and espressos are likely to contain more caffeine than this **Take particular care with energy drinks, and preferably avoid them because some brands contain much more caffeine than this

An example of a safe daily level of caffeine would include 1 mug of instant coffee, 1 mug of tea and a 50g bar of milk chocolate. Take care with cold and flu remedies, as many of these contain caffeine. Check with your pharmacist or doctor first.

As well as caffeine, tea and coffee contain ‘tannins’, chemicals which bind to dietary iron, and can therefore reduce the body’s absorption of iron and other nutrients. Drinking tea and coffee at mealtimes can mean less iron is absorbed by the body. As pregnant women are more susceptible to anaemia, consider avoiding tea and coffee at mealtimes and drink it in between meals instead.

I’m trying for a baby – should I limit my caffeine too?

Consuming too much caffeine may reduce your fertility and may increase risk of miscarriage. Therefore, it’s best to limit your intake to 200mg of caffeine a day when you‘re trying for a baby too. In fact, pre-conception is a great time to evaluate your caffeine intake and cut down in preparation for pregnancy.

I’ve just had a baby – is it safe to increase my caffeine intake again?

It you’re breastfeeding, you may find that consuming drinks containing caffeine may affect your baby, causing them to be wakeful, irritable or restless. There’s no UK guideline on what’s a safe amount for breastfeeding, but in the US, the limit is 300mg. It’s best to continue limiting caffeine if you notice that it’s affecting your baby.

There’s a drug whose appeal shows no sign of slowing. It’s a stimulant for the central nervous system and it was an ingredient in 136 million bags exported around the world in 2012.

Those bags were coffee and the drug was caffeine – but there’s a lot more to it than just the one beverage. Tea, energy drinks, chocolates, chewing gum, sweets and even weight-loss tablets have all got a caffeine content. We compare them here.

2 cups of tea = 1 cup of coffee

There are 20mg of caffeine in your average 100g of brewed tea compared to 40mg in the same amount of black filter coffee. But the type of tea, as well as the brewing time makes a difference.

2 colas = 1 tea

We were surprised too. 100g of your average cola contains just 8mg of caffeine – although for reduced sugar varieties that number goes up to 15mg.

More caffeine in coffee than Red Bull

One of the biggest brands in high-sugar energy drinks, Red Bull, has just 30mg of caffeine per 100g which still leaves the traditional americano in first place in the caffeine contest.

But a look at other energy drinks shows that Red Bull is a relative light-weight in the alkaloid department. New energy shots like Ammo (whose “was developed for the U.S. Military Special Forces like Navy Seals, Green Berets, and Delta Force) are supposed to be drunk in low volumes but 100g of the stuff would contain a dizzying 570mg of caffeine – that’s 14 cups of coffee.

Here are the ten most caffeinated energy drinks – along with brand names that are as neon as the liquids within.

Caffeinated alcoholic drinks

There’s also a growing trend for mixing drugs – in this case alcohol and caffeine. The US Food and Drug Administration lists (not without a note of caution) 70 of these products.

One of four companies adding caffeine to their alcoholic malt beverages which the FDA warned was an “unsafe food additive” Photograph: Fda

It’s not just drinks

From jelly beans to energy infused potato chips, caffeine is increasingly coming in a chewable form. Foosh energy mints have 5,555 mg of caffeine per 100g – that’s 139 cups of coffee (and, we assume, without the halitosis). Buzz Bites Chocolate Chews were the second highest on the adult sweeties list with 1,639mg of caffeine per 100g.

It’s not all plain (highly alert?) sailing though – when gum giant Wrigley attempted to launch a caffeinated chewing gum earlier this year they ended up having to halt production after officials raised concerns about children and adolescents consuming the stuff.

Companies are coming up with increasingly creative ways to cash in on consumer fatigue Photograph: /Designtaxi

Drugs in drugs

From Aspirin to Triaminicin (used to reduce fever and relieve pain) several doses of drugs will also contain a hit of caffeine. There are 65mg of caffeine in Aspirin Bayer Select Maximum Strength and 40mg in Repan (used to treat headaches).

Many of the weight-loss supplement pills listed by the US authorities also include high dosages of caffeine – presumably in the belief that it may act as an appetite suppressant. For those who are seeking a direct fix, a range of caffeine tablets are also widely availble that have dosages between 175mg and 200mg.

You can compare the main caffeine products from cola to dark chocolate coated coffee beans in the chart below.

You can get all the data, published by the US Food and Drug Administration here. Do these numbers surprise you? Tell us about your caffeine habits in the comments below.

Update: Several commenters wanted to see caffeine contents per portion as well as per 100g. All those numbers are available in the spreadsheet but we’ve summarised a few in the table below in case it’s helpful.

Coffee vs. Soda: A Comparison

Coffee and soda are two favorite beverages that many Americans drink daily. They’re both delicious and caffeinated, which is why so many people turn to them on a regular basis. They also have an intertwined history. Here’s a look at the similarities and differences between coffee and soda.

Coffee Has More Caffeine Than Soda

The caffeine levels in coffee are significantly higher than those in most popular sodas. The typical caffeinated soda has between 25 and 50 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a 6-ounce cup of arabica coffee has around 100 milligrams of caffeine, and a shot of espresso contains about 70 milligrams. (Coffea robusta has twice as much caffeine as coffea arabica.)

Sometimes, it might seem like soda gives you more energy than a cup of coffee. That’s largely because soda also has a lot of sugar, which black coffee doesn’t have.

Coffee Has More Health Benefits Than Soda

Although some health providers say it’s alright to consume soda in moderation, it has virtually no health benefits. At best, zero-calorie sodas have neutral health effects. At worst, the calories in sugar-laden sodas has devastating consequences on people’s cardiovascular systems and waistlines.

When consumed in moderation, coffee has many health benefits. Drinking too much of it will lead to a caffeine dependence and interfere with sleep. In moderation, many studies have shown that coffee:

  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • lowers the risk of stroke
  • reduces the risk of liver cancer and liver disease
  • lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • might protect against Alzheimer’s disease

These are just a few of the health benefits studies have found. Of course, these benefits are only linked with black coffee. Drinking a double-whip breve mocha mint latte isn’t going to do anything good for your heart. Additionally, it’s important to remain hydrated when drinking coffee.

Coffee and Soda Have an Inverse Relationship

Since World War II, when Coca-Cola introduced soldiers to soda for 5 cents a can, coffee and soda have had an inverse relationship. When one’s popularity has declined, the other’s has increased.

As we detailed in A Story About Why America Moved Away from Coffee After the World War, the world’s leading coffee companies began producing low-quality coffee following World War II. They were importing robusta beans and soluble coffee, as well as shortening roasting times, adding water to coffee beans and reintroducing chaff to roasted coffee in order to boost their bottom line. At the same time, soldiers returning from overseas were turning to the soda they learned to love while deployed.

Through the 1970s, the quality of coffee being offered in the U.S. continued to decline. Many Americans followed soldiers and switched to soda,

In the 1980s, however, a revolution began that has continued through today. It’s in the 1980s that the coffee culture began to reemerge. As the culture grew, more and more people were reintroduced, or introduced for the first time, to great coffee. During the same time, medical researchers railed against the damaging health effects of soda and began to study the positive benefits of coffee.

Since 2000, the shift from soda to coffee has been especially prevalent. Between 2000 and 2012 (when data was updated), soda consumption fell by 38 percent, and coffee consumption rose by 24 percent.

Switch to Great Coffee

If you’re trying to cut back on soda, perhaps coffee’s the drink you should switch to. After all, many people have made the change recently. Let us send you a sample pack, so we can reacquaint you with outstanding coffee.



How much caffeine is in Coke? How much caffeine is in Diet Coke?

Caffeine is one of the ingredients that helps give Coca-Cola its unique great taste.

People are often surprised when they learn that the amount of caffeine in Coke or Diet Coke is much less than in the same-sized coffee. Coke’s caffeine content is 34mg for a 12-oz can, and Diet Coke caffeine content is 46mg. That’s three to four times less than coffee! The same-sized coffee, in this case a 12-oz cup, has 140mg or more.

Which soda has the most caffeine?

Surge, our citrus-flavored soda, has the most caffeine of our sodas. It has 69mg of caffeine in a 16-oz can. While it has the most caffeine, you might be surprised to learn that it still has much less caffeine than in the same-sized coffee (similar to Coke and Diet Coke).

In case you’re wondering, while not considered a soda, energy drinks also have caffeine. Be sure to check how much caffeine there is. It’s listed on our products next to the Nutrition Facts label. For instance, the amount of caffeine in Monster Energy (original) has 160mg per 16-oz can.

How much caffeine is too much?

The U.S. FDA says healthy adults can have up to 400mg of caffeine a day without having adverse health effects. Limits may be less for children and pregnant women.

That would be like having eight 12-oz cans of Diet Coke, four to five cups of coffee (1 cup = 8oz) or 20 squares of dark chocolate (1 square = 1oz).

Check out our video on YouTube to learn how much caffeine is too much.

What is caffeine anyway?

Caffeine is a mild stimulant and can affect people differently on how much they’ve consumed and how often they consume it. Caffeine is used in our products, like Coca-Cola, to give it a slight bitter taste.

It is also found in many beverages and foods, such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate.

He drank a cafe latte, a Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink. Caffeine killed him. | Miami Herald


A 16-year-old high school student who collapsed in a classroom last month died from ingesting too much caffeine, the county coroner said Monday.

The official cause of death for Davis Allen Cripe was a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia,” said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts. It was the result of the teen ingesting the caffeine from a large Diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald’s and an energy drink over the course of about two hours, Watts said.

Watts made the announcement during a Monday news conference with Davis’ father, Sean. Watts said the teen was healthy and had no family history of a medical problem the caffeine could have exacerbated.

Davis had purchased the latte at a McDonald’s around 12:30 p.m. April 26, Watts said. He consumed the Diet Mountain Dew “a little time after that” and the energy drink sometime after the soda. Watts declined to name the energy drink.

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EMS received the call about Davis collapsing in class at 2:28 p.m., Watts said. He was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. at Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital.

In addition to being healthy, Davis was known among friends and classmates for advocating against using drugs and alcohol, Watts said.

“Davis, like so many other kids and so many other people out there today, was doing something (he) thought was totally harmless, and that was ingesting lots of caffeine,” Watts said. “We lost Davis from a totally legal substance.”

Holding back tears, Sean Cripe implored parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of energy drinks and consuming too much caffeine.

“It wasn’t a car crash that took his life,” he said of his son. “Instead, it was an energy drink. Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks. And teenagers and students: please stop buying them.”

The autopsy showed no “unfounded” or “undiagnosed heart condition,” said Watts, who was careful not to call Davis’ death a caffeine overdose. He added that Davis had “a previous history of drinking” caffeinated beverages but nothing that his family considered to be an addiction.

“A cup of coffee, a can of soda isn’t going to cause this thing,” said Dr. Amy Durso, deputy chief medical examiner for Richland County. “It’s the amount and also the time frame in which these caffeinated beverages are consumed that can put you at risk.”

Part of the danger in what happened to Davis, Watts said, is that caffeine and energy drinks affect people differently.

“You can have five people line up right here and all of them do the exact same thing that happened with him that day – drink more – and it may not have any kind of effect on them at all,” he said.

Dying from too much caffeine is “very rare,” said Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler, president of the S.C. Coroner’s Association. It’s so rare, he’s never seen it happen in South Carolina, he said.

“That’s the only one I’ve heard of,” Fowler said. “We haven’t dealt with it.”

Federal guidelines prevent the sale of energy drinks on school campuses, according to the S.C. Department of Education. Some schools have even pulled caffeinated sodas from their campuses.

A recently published study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that those who consume energy drinks end up with higher blood pressure levels for a longer period of time than those who drink just caffeine. The study was conducted on healthy volunteers between 18 and 40, after seeing the popularity of energy drinks rise with emergency room visits and deaths.

A 2015 Mayo Clinic study also found that one energy drink can increase the blood pressure of healthy young adults as well as stress hormone levels that also can raise the risk of cardiovascular events. The study, whose participants had an average age of 29, suggested that asking about energy drink consumption should become part of a physician’s routine.

Energy drinks vs. caffeine

▪ Studies have revealed energy drinks impact the body differently

▪ One found that the blood pressure of energy-drink consumers remained “significantly elevated” by the time the blood pressure of caffeinated-water drinkers had returned to normal.

▪ The other found energy drinks elevated the blood pressure and stress hormone levels of healthy young adults, raising concerns of an increased risk for cardiovascular events.

▪ Both studies noted the combination of other stimulants, like taurine and guarana, in addition to caffeine in energy drinks.

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