There are some conditions that may be improved if you decrease your caffeine intake. If your doctor suggests that you cut down on caffeine, here are some steps to help you do so.
Caffeine is a mild stimulant. Many people drink coffee, tea, or soda for this effect—it helps them feel more awake and alert. However, this stimulant effect can also cause jitters, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Each person's tolerance to caffeine is different. As we age, we become more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
You may be advised to reduce your caffeine intake in certain situations. For example:
First, you will need to know all the possible sources of caffeine in your diet. The following table should help understand the caffeine content of different beverages. While chocolate does not contain caffeine, for some people the theobromines in chocolate have similar effects. We have also 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|
Some people experience headaches or drowsiness if they remove all sources of caffeine from their diet. Decreasing over a period of time can help prevent these effects. Try the following:
If you find that one of the above three methods of gradual cutting back works for you, then you can begin to:
If you are trying to lose weight, do not forget that juices and sugar-containing soft drinks may have more calories than some of the caffeinated beverages you are giving up.
You may be surprised at the caffeine content of your favorite beverages or of some of the over-the-counter products in your medicine cabinet. 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
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Last reviewed January 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 3/13/2014