How Much Coffee Is Too Much?

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too much coffee

Waking up in the morning and having a hot cup of coffee gets many of us ready to face the day ahead—and why not? There have been many studies over the years that have proven that drinking coffee is good for your mind, body, and overall health.

But is there a point when too much coffee isn’t good for you?

We’ve all had those days where no matter how many cups of coffee we drink, we can’t seem to snap out of the mental funk that we’re in. By noontime, we’ve had almost double the amount of caffeine we usually drink—and we’re completely and totally wired. Racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, inability to focus—these can’t be good, can it?

We’re going to look at what happens when a person drinks too much coffee, and the adverse effects it can have on our health.

Caffeine Levels

Not all coffee is created equal. Certain beans, specific methods of roasting, and certain methods of preparation can all affect the amount of caffeine that’s in our coffee. For example, the average brewed 8oz cup of coffee contains anywhere from 95-165mg of caffeine whereas the average espresso shot is around 64mg.

The recommended daily allowance of coffee is around 400mg. That’s not to say that it’s recommended you drink 400mg of coffee per day, but rather that’s the upper limit before health risks could start to occur. That averages out to around 4 cups of home-brewed coffee per day.

Sugar Levels

Too much dietary sugar intake is one of the leading causes of diabetes in America. One of the biggest culprits are the sugar-laden drinks you get from the brand name coffee stores. For example, in a Venti-sized drink, you’re consuming almost 75 grams of sugar.

To put that in perspective, the recommended daily allowance for sugar for men is around 37.5 grams and 25 grams for women. Too much regular sugar intake can not only lead to diseases such as diabetes, but obesity, inflammation, and even high blood pressure.

Other Negative Health Effects

There are a wide range of other negative health effects that come from drinking too much coffee, tea, or energy drinks. Even if you take your coffee completely black, you could still encounter one or more of the following conditions:

Anxiety – Caffeine is a stimulant. At higher doses, it can lead to an outbreak of anxiety. This usually occurs in people who consume more than 1,000mg per day (~7-8 cups of regular coffee).  Anxiety also leads to stress, which can cause a whole host of health problems, including depression, diabetes, and heart disease.

Addiction – Have you ever tried to go one morning without a cup of coffee? If you’re like most regular coffee drinkers, you probably got headaches, were tired, and didn’t feel like your usual self. That’s called an addiction. Caffeine is slightly addictive, and it can be hard to break the habit.

Digestive Problems – Many people find that a cup of coffee in the morning tends to have a laxative effect. In larger doses, this can cause sever bowel irritation. In fact, coffee may worsen certain pre-existing digestive conditions if ingested in large amounts.

Insomnia – One of the main reasons people drink coffee is because it helps keep them awake. However, if they drink too much, they may find that they have a hard time falling asleep or the quality of their sleep is extremely poor.

Insomnia can ruin an entire day, as the individual winds up drinking more and more caffeine in an attempt to counter the effects in a never-ending cycle.

High Blood Pressure – It’s been estimated that around 75 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease and strokes. Coffee causes blood pressure to rise for a few hours after the first sip. This can lead to an increased chance of stroke or heart attack.

Dehydration – Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it stimulates the body to produce urine. This leads to frequent urination, which can cause dehydration. Several studies have found that a high level of coffee intake over a period of time can lead to incontinence for people who normally have healthy bladders.

Tiredness – While caffeine can increase energy levels, the exact opposite holds true once your body has processed it. Many coffee drinkers have reported feeling fatigue for up to 24 hours after their last cup of coffee. This can also lead to sleep issues until your body and brain adjust to the lack of caffeine levels in your bloodstream.


While the medical studies over the years have proven that coffee is good for your health, as with anything in life, you should try to drink it in moderation. Anxiety, fatigue, and high blood pressure will only serve to lessen your coffee drinking experience. You’ll find that you’ll enjoy the beverage much more when you don’t need it to function or get out of bed.

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