How much coffee is too much?

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Shutterstock.om/ Joanna Dorota
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There is an ongoing debate in the health community about coffee. Some people argue that it is an addictive psychoactive stimulant and that our diet is far better off without it. Others argue that this stimulant can be used as a natural energy booster and there is no cause for concern. While these two parties differ greatly and that debate is unlikely to end anytime soon, they do agree on one thing, too much coffee is a bad idea.

Coffee is the most consumed psychoactive stimulant in the world. The global coffee market is worth over $100 US Billion and is growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 6% per year. For those in the coffee business, this means they are basically printing money.

Today the majority of people are coffee drinkers. Gym goers enjoy a coffee before they work out. Students enjoy a coffee (or three) during a study session. The capitalist society we run on is basically fuelled by coffee as the majority of employees are not productive until they get their caffeine injection. This dependency that can be seen on coffee is not a healthy thing and this starts to show itself when people who previously drank the occasional coffee start to consume more and more. 

Coffee is a drug and people can easily become addicted. If you start to drink too much coffee your moods will likely become erratic, you won’t sleep well, your behavior will change and your diety will start to do strange things as well. The side effects of drug use are rarely fun.

This simply means that everyone has a line. I worked with one friend before who we called three coffee Debra. Debra on one coffee is a good and productive worker in the office. With two coffees she gets tasks done quickly. If she happens to drink a third coffee she would become a little abusive and struggles to focus on her tasks. Three coffees and Debra is out.

Experienced coffee drinkers have figured out their limit, their line. They know when they need to stop drinking coffee to perform or when it is taking over their day. If a coffee drinker can have the level of discipline that is required to do this then perhaps coffee can actually have a positive impact on their life. If not, they are in trouble.

Recently one woman became famous because she was rushed to hospital after overdosing on caffeine. The story is a little strange because she didn’t drink a single cup of coffee. Instead, she took caffeine powder. Sometimes when you are really tired you just feel that a cup of coffee won’t be enough to lift your spirits. It appears that was the case for this particular lady as she decided not to go for the coffee drink but instead took 20 grams of caffiene. A bold choice.

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She likely thought that this would be the equivalent of a few cups of coffee and would put the required pep in her step. What she didn’t know is that a single teaspoon of caffeine powder is the same as drinking 28 cups of coffee.

Three hours after taking the powder she came to the emergency room complaining of difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, and heart palpitations. She was in trouble. They asked her what she had taken and put her on a simple fluid replacement to solve it, but it didn’t work.

She had to be rushed to intensive care and given an intravenous treatment as well as some hormone drugs. It worked and she was able to be released soon after. This is a clear warning that too much coffee can be a very bad thing. While we don’t think you are likely to drink 28 cups in a row, it is still worthwhile being cautious with your consumption levels.

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