You might have noticed a new energy drink on store shelves this month, Coca-Cola Energy. Coca-Cola launched this product (Jan, 2020), for the first time joining the fast growing $12 Billion energy drink market. Some predict the entry of this trusted brand into this market will lead to even more consumption of these highly caffeinated beverages.

“The company predicts the drink will be appealing because its caffeine levels are similar to those of rival energy drinks, without losing the familiar classic Coca-Cola flavor,” a Coca-Cola brand director told Business Insider. This new drink has 114 mg of caffeine – that is three times more than regular Coke but less than twice as much as a cup of black coffee.

This news brings up an important health question: is it safe to drink this much caffeine?

At just over a hundred milligrams of caffeine, an energy drink like this falls within the FDA’s safety guidelines. For healthy adults, they say 400mg of caffeine per day is generally considered safe. It is important to note the phrase “for healthy adults.” Caffeine (at this level or otherwise) is not safe for everyone.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and adolescents stay away from caffeine. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are urged to limit caffeine, and certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, anxiety, and migraines can be aggravated by the drug (yes, it is a drug). It is important to talk to your doctor to find out if you should limit caffeine.

That said, caffeine is one of the most widely available stimulants. It is in hundreds of over-the-counter products and even healthy adults need to be aware of just how much caffeine they are consuming, cumulatively, on any given day. Here are some examples of products with caffeine:

  • Black coffee
  • Black Tea
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Certain medications
  • Flavorings
  • Energy Drinks
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Protein Drinks
  • Decaf coffee and tea

It is important to read product labels and keep track of your daily caffeine intake. Your body will also start letting you know when you have had too much or if you are sensitive to it. Here are some of the most common symptoms you might experience:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Shaking
  • Fast heart beat
  • Diarrhea

Taking in too much caffeine can be more than uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. Here some signs of caffeine overdose:

  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Panic attack
  • Confusion

If you recognize signs of caffeine overdose in yourself or someone else, get medical help immediately. It can lead to death.

Caffeine is a drug that can have a powerful effect on your brain and nervous system. As store shelves fill up with ever more highly caffeinated products, it is more important than ever to keep an eye on your daily caffeine intake. If ever you are in doubt, just say no to that energy drink.

If you have questions about the effects of caffeine on your health, or you’d like some advice on how to cut caffeine from your diet as painlessly as possible, our healthcare providers are here to answer your questions. Get in touch to schedule your appointment in one of our Hunt County locations.