Are you consuming too much caffeine?

iStock_000018454085Small_Three disposable coffee cups with plastic lid ARE YOU CONSUMING TOO MUCH CAFFEINE?A few short months ago, the Australian Beverages Council released the results of a comprehensive national caffeine consumption survey. It may come as no surprise that the figures reveal we’re a nation of fanatic coffee drinkers. According to the Beverages Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Parker, “As a population, we’re all drinking a lot more coffee. We consume one billion cups a year outside of the home and four billion cups at home.” If you’re someone who relies on a cup or three of coffee to kick your work day into high gear, take comfort in the fact you’re not alone.

 

Caffeine can be found in a number of beverages including tea, iced tea, iced coffee, cola, chocolate and sodas. Interestingly, the same survey found that a majority of Australians were unable to identify that coffee from a café contains the highest amount of caffeine (4 percent) while 36 percent incorrectly believe that energy drinks are the most highly caffeinated. When you combine the other foods we may be eating that contain caffeine such as chocolate bars, certain ice creams and even some diet pills, it’s easy to see how we may be experiencing a caffeine overload.

 

People have been exploiting the energising benefits of coffee for centuries, and despite some conflicting research results, most experts agree that moderate caffeine intake won’t adversely affect your health. But what constitutes ‘moderate’ when it comes to workplace consumption of caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks, iced tea and energy drinks?

 

That figure differs for everybody, based on a number of factors, including age, weight, pre-existing health conditions, and innate sensitivity to caffeine. It might take a bit of experimentation to figure out what your optimal level of caffeine intake is. Here are some danger signs that you might be consuming too much in your workplace (and at home).

 

• Insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns

• Tremors or shaking

• Nausea or stomach upset

• Anxiety or mood shifts

• Heart palpitations

 

If you have begun to experience any of these symptoms, it could be time to assess the items in your diet that contain caffeine and consider reducing your caffeine intake. To minimise the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal, systematically cut back your intake over time; for example, you could reduce your four-cup-a-day coffee habit over a period of three weeks by cutting back one cup each week. If you’ve reduced your caffeine intake and the adverse symptoms persist, it may be wise to check in with your physician.

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