Experts explain: This is how many cups of coffee you should drink

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Sep.03 - 2023 12:08 PM CET

Foto: Shutterstock
Foto: Shutterstock
Coffee, a beloved beverage for many, has been associated with a variety of health benefits, such as a reduced risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease

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It's a common choice for boosting energy and improving mood. However, there's a fine line between enjoyment and overindulgence, as some research has also linked heavy coffee consumption to heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

Tricia Psota, a member of the American Society for Nutrition, has stated that while normal coffee intake isn't harmful, it shouldn't be consumed solely for health benefits.

She even cautions against those who don't already consume caffeinated beverages from starting them.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a daily limit of 400 milligrams, roughly equivalent to four or five 8-ounce cups. This amount is unlikely to cause symptoms like an erratic heartbeat or vomiting, which are more common with about 12 cups a day.

However, 400 milligrams might lead to undesirable side effects like anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Individual tolerance to coffee varies, and some people may not be able to tolerate more than one or two cups a day. Psota also recommends a limit of 200 milligrams for pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, as caffeine can affect infants through breast milk.

Research has shown that caffeine during pregnancy can lead to lower birth weights, while moderate intake may lower the risk of gestational diabetes.

Coffee can also pose risks to those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease if consumed with added sugar or cream, according to Nikki Cota, a dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Jessica Sylvester, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, emphasizes the importance of listening to one's body. If coffee leads to feelings of extreme fatigue or a rapid heartbeat, it's time to stop, as tolerance may change with age.

Dr. David Buchholz, a pediatrician at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, adds that no amount of caffeine is healthy for adolescents. He advises no more than 100 milligrams a day, or about one 8-ounce cup, for teenagers, especially since brands are increasingly marketing caffeinated energy drinks to children.

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