The European Food Safety Authority has just released a 120-page report reviewing the health benefits and risks of coffee and advises against drinking more than four cups of coffee per day. The U.S 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends close to the same limit. The recommended dose for pregnant women and children is much lower. The active stimulant in coffee is caffeine, which is found in plants such as coffee, kola nuts, tea leaves and cocoa. If you take other sources of caffeine, the recommended limit on the amount of coffee would be lower.
Eighty-three percent of North American adults drink coffee and 54 percent drink coffee every day. A recent poll in Europe showed that:
* 33 percent of adults take energy drinks and 12 percent take them at least four days a week,
* 70 percent of teens take energy drinks and 12 percent of teens take large amounts regularly, and
* 14 percent of adults in Germany, 17 percent in the Netherlands and 33 percent in Denmark take in more than the recommended four cups of coffee per day
One cup of coffee contains the same amount of caffeine as is found in four dark chocolate bars, three cups of most caffeinated sodas, two cups of tea or one cup of most energy drinks. Some energy drinks contain as much caffeine as is found in five cups of coffee.
Side Effects and Possible Benefits of Caffeine
One cup of coffee at bedtime may prevent some people from falling asleep. It can also make your hands shake and make you anxious. Two cups can cause irregular heartbeats and raise blood pressure for up to 12 hours.
Several studies have shown potential benefits from coffee or caffeine. This month, a report shows that two cups of coffee a day may reduce risk of erectile dysfunction in overweight, obese men. The researchers think that caffeine increases blood flow to the penis. Another study showed that four cups of coffee a day may reduce skin cancer risk and help to prevent diabetes. It is also known to increase endurance in athletes and exercisers. See Caffeine Improves Multi-Day Performance
Gabe Mirkin, M.D., is a sports medicine doctor and fitness guru. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin has run more than 40 marathons and is now a serious tandem bike rider with his wife, Diana. His website is http://drmirkin.com/. Click to read Gabe’s full bio.