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Decreasing Your Caffeine Intake
Lowering your caffeine intake can help with some health problems. If your doctor tells you that cutting back might help you, here are some steps that can make it easier to do.
Caffeine is a mild stimulant. Many people drink coffee, tea, or soda because it helps them feel more awake and alert. However, this stimulant effect can also cause jitters, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Caffeine affects each person differently. As we age, caffeine may affect us more.
Your doctor may tell you to cut down on caffeine in some situations. For example:
- If you are pregnant or nursing—Caffeine may affect you more during pregnancy. Also, it can pass through the placenta and breast milk to your baby.
- If you have a health problem like high blood pressure or other risk factors for heart attack, gastritis, or ulcers, talk to your doctor about how caffeine affects you. You may need to cut back.
First, you will need to know where the caffeine in your diet comes from. The table below should help you figure out how much caffeine is in different drinks. While there is no caffeine in chocolate, other chemicals in chocolate can have similar effects. We have listed the caffeine equivalents for some chocolate products below.
|Common Sources of Caffeine||Serving Size||Average Caffeine Content (mg)|
|NoDoz (maximum strength)||1 tablet||200|
|Excedrin Migraine||2 tablets||130|
|Coffee, brewed||16 ounces||133|
|Espresso coffee||2 ounces||150|
|Coffee, instant||8 ounces||148|
|Arizona Iced Tea, black||16 ounces||30|
|Black tea||8 ounces||30-80|
|Mountain Dew||12 ounces||54|
|Dr. Pepper, regular or diet||12 ounces||41|
|7-UP or Diet 7-UP||12 ounces||0|
|Redline Energy Drink||23.5 ounces||316|
|5-hour Energy||1.9 ounces||208|
|Monster Energy||16 ounces||160|
|Red Bull||8.4 ounces||80|
|Hershey's Special Dark||1.5 ounce||20|
|Hershey's chocolate bar||1.6 ounces||9|
|Hot cocoa||1 tbs.||8|
Cut Back Gradually
Some people have headaches or feel sleepy if they cut caffeine from their diet all at once. Cutting back slowly can help avoid this. Try these tips:
- Mix half regular and half decaf coffee
- Drink instant coffee, which has less caffeine than regular coffee
- Brew tea for a shorter time—a 1-minute brew contains about half of the caffeine that a 3-minute brew contains
Then you can begin to:
- Drink decaffeinated coffee or tea, which has almost no caffeine.
- Drink herbal tea, which naturally has no caffeine.
- Replace coffee, tea, and soda with water or juice.
You may be surprised how much caffeine is in your favorite drinks or in some of the over-the-counter medicines you take. Be sure to check labels. Many sodas and other products come in caffeine-free forms, so look for these.
American Heart Association
International Food Information Council
Dietitians of Canada
Caffeine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Accessed November 15, 2020.
Caffeine and heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Caffeine-and-Heart-Disease%5FUCM%5F305888%5FArticle.jsp. Accessed November 15, 2020.
Caffeine content of food & drugs. Center for Science in the Public Interest website. Available at: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm. Accessed November 15, 2020.
Cornelis MC, El-Sohemy A, Kabagambe EK, Campos H. Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction. JAMA. 2006;295(10):1135-1141.
ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Accessed November 15, 2020.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board
- Review Date: 11/2020
- Update Date: 11/29/2020