by: Emily Nice, RD, LD
April showers bring… slow-moving hours! Rainy days and dreary Mondays tend to hit pretty hard at times, especially if you miss out on your morning cup of coffee. Sometimes, we really need that extra boost caffeine can provide, but how much is too much?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 400mg of caffeine daily. Average American caffeine consumption remains within this recommendation; however, it is important to note that these guidelines are reflective of adults without any serious medical conditions which may require more restrictive intakes. Approximately 95% of American adults consume caffeine, mostly coming from coffee and tea intake. The American Heart Association recommends keeping coffee intake at or below 1-2 cups daily. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee varies between different brands/styles, and just one 8 ounce cup of coffee may contain approximately 95-200mg of caffeine.
Depending on how you take your coffee or tea, you may be adding more empty calories to your diet than you realize as well. Additives are often unaccounted for or missed when recounting what has been consumed for the day. It is also common to pair these beverages with high calorie pastries and snacks, which may contain large amounts of both sugar and fat. These habits could negatively impact your blood sugar control and/or your efforts to lose weight.
After a long day, a warm caffeinated beverage may provide a comforting pick-me-up, but this may also influence poor sleep if consumed before bed or too late in the day. Restlessness or poor quality sleep may lead to higher blood glucose levels, making a good night’s sleep especially important in controlling your blood sugar. Pay attention to your body and make sleep a priority.
Caffeinated beverages and foods can fit into a well-balanced diet if consumed in moderation. If your daily caffeine intake is reaching or exceeding the limit, you may want to cut back. Make sure to watch your portion sizes and be sure to account for any added cream or sugar you may be enjoying. Pay attention to the types of food you choose to accommodate your drink, and be careful not to indulge too late in the day to allow time for good quality sleep at night.
From a little morning inspiration to a quick pick-me-up in the early afternoon, a reasonable caffeine fix can fit into a healthy lifestyle.