Dial a Dietitian

Caffeine

Caffeine is found naturally in many plants such as: tea leaves, coffee and cocoa beans, guarana and yerba maté. Caffeine may also be added to some medications, carbonated beverages and energy drinks. For more information on caffeine sources visit Dietitians of Canada.

Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it can increase alertness. Everyone reacts to caffeine differently, it may cause: headaches, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia or stomach upset. A moderate caffeine intake is not linked with increase risk of any health conditions.

How much is too much?

Health Canada recommendations for moderate intake of caffeine:

  • Adults should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 400 mg/day. (about three 8-ounce cups of regular coffee)

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit their intake to no more than 300 mg per day (about two 8oz cups of coffee or six 8oz cups of tea).

  • Adolescents 13 years old and older should not have more than 2.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (or 5.5mg/lb)
  • Health Canada recommends a moderate intake of caffeine. To find out more about amount of content of caffeine click here
    • 45 mg/day for children 4-6 years

    • 62.5 mg/day for children 7-9 years

    • 85 mg/day for children 10-12 year

Caffeine tips

  • Children should avoid having carbonated drinks (such as colas). This is because of the caffeine and colas might replace other healthier foods in their diet, such as milk.
  • Energy drinks are not recommended for children (under 12 years) because of the caffeine content. Often one energy drink is over the safe limit for children.  

  • Trying to cut back your caffeine intake? Try mixing your regular coffee with half decaffeinated coffee or drink caffeine-free teas for a hot drink. Choose a latte or café-au-lait instead of brewed coffee.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding there are specific guidelines for caffeine. Click here for more information and see handout below.

Caffeine Resources:

Caffeine during pregnancy

Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada: Caffeine

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