RDA For Caffeine and Things to Consider [EXPERT GUIDE]
Coffee, tea, many warm brewed drinks will contain a food source of caffeine. It is well known that many of us enjoy a warm cup of coffee on a cold night. I mean, just imagine sitting around a campfire in the fall without a cup of hot coffee.
Doesn’t seem like much of a campfire now does it?
You see coffee and tea have become a very staple in our culture – and it’s not just in North America. The rise of global trade has brought tea all over the world and coffee has followed suit.
Virtually every country now has their own specific way of creating a drink with coffee or tea. Coffee especially has touched the hearts of people all around the world. No matter where these beans grow you can find a good cup of coffee that has a unique and distinct flavour sure to boost your metabolism and help you in daily life.
The question is, does all of this constant consumption of caffeine have adverse effects on our lives? Is it possible that caffeine is just something we have been drinking but really isn’t very healthy for us?
In this guide, we find out.
What is Caffeine
Caffeine is an interesting compound. It is a type of plant insecticide created by the plant who bears some kind of fruit. For a coffee bean, the plant creates this insecticide (caffeine) to try and ward off insects that would eat the fruit or leaves of the plant.
Think about the effect a minimal amount of caffeine has on your body – now translate that into a super small insect. This insecticide would be sure to keep that bug away next time!
Since caffeine is really a natural insecticide, when our body consumes it – especially in larger dosages it causes a small euphoric experience and can even heighten your senses – which is why many people feel it wakes them up.
The important aspect to realize here is that due to its characteristics, caffeine is actually classified as a psychoactive drug. This is a drug that you can develop a tolerance to – and is served in virtually any coffee shop (which generally do not have to describe the dosage).
This means you could have a cup that way more caffeine than you are used to without knowing it.
We are not saying caffeine is bad. In fact, there is far too much research showing its benefits for us to say you shouldn’t be drinking it. Research shows that those who drink coffee or tea generally have a better and healthier BMI while also having an optimal heart condition and live longer.
With all this said it is important to remember the aspect of caffeine being a drug. This substance as a drug can actually hinder your life if it becomes a true addiction.
What’s the Recommended Daily Allowance?
For most foods and specific nutrients we have something called an RDA or recommended daily allowance. This tells us how much we should be eating of a specific nutrient in order to optimally achieve a better life and stay healthy.
Generally, most governments will say that adults should stay below 400mg of caffeine daily – which is about the amount of caffeine you would get from 4 cups of coffee (at 250ml each).
The important thing to recognize here is that not all drinks will contain the same amount of caffeine. A can of soda will generally contain about 30-40 mg of caffeine whereas an energy drink contains around 200mg. Even worse, some pre-workout mixes will contain a huge surplus – somewhere in the realm of 300mg per serving.
If you aren’t paying attention to each drink you consume it can be very easy to intake an excess of caffeine. In most cases as long as you can keep your caffeine dosage in check you shouldn’t experience very many negative components, but those who excessively drink coffee every day may experience caffeine dependence and eventual withdrawal.
Caffeine dependence is a real symptom of drinking it on a regular basis. If you become dependant on caffeine and try to limit your consumption you can go through real withdrawal stages – similar to other psychoactive drugs.
How to Consume Caffeine Properly
When consumed properly caffeine can be a great way to improve your health and provide longevity. On the other hand, those who do not pay close attention to the RDA may experience some adverse side effects that may be unwarranted.
Consuming caffeine properly comes down to a couple simple principles:
Caffeine Free Drinks
The first step is to remove unneeded caffeine from many of the drinks you consume on a daily basis. This could mean switching your favourite cola brand to one that is caffeine free or bringing your own decaffeinated drink to work.
Either way, the goal here is to limit your caffeine in places where you really don’t need it. Chances are if you’re having a soda at lunch here is no need to have another 30-40mg of caffeine in your drink – water will suffice.
Find Better Pre-Workouts
I know all the bodybuilders and strength athletes out there just went to check their pre-workout dosage. To be honest, most pre-workouts have an excessive amount of caffeine – and it’s from a source called caffeine anhydrous, which is a concentrated and dehydrated form.
Finding a pre-workout or energy drink that is caffeine free means you’ll need to fuel your body on real nutrition – not so bad if you ask me. Our personal favorite pre-workout is called 4 GAUGE. This product has a good serving of caffeine that will help to keep you within your RDA.
Next time you got to the gym try eating an apple and chugging back a fruit juice with creatine in it – this will be plenty of fuel for your workout without the unneeded caffeine dosage.
Drink More Water
One of the reasons many people drink coffee is because there really isn’t anything else to drink at work – but there is always water. Not only is water the healthiest beverage you can drink, but it will not stimulate the body like caffeine and instead will help you to feel more energized and happy throughout the day – without the caffeine.
Try Espresso Instead of Coffee
Some people scoff at the Italians drinking their small cups of coffee – but did you know that espresso contains less caffeine. Yes, it is more pungent, but the total dosage of caffeine is lower. This means you can still have the same experience of caffeine intake without all the need for multiple cups of coffee.
Caffeine – Good or Bad?
This remains up to debate. Interestingly enough when you look into the science you will find that most demonstrate a benefit of drinking coffee. It seems that by having a minimal amount of caffeine daily that you can actually improve your health and live longer.
Conversely the fact that caffeine is a drug that can cause dependence should not be ignored.
With caffeine based beverages so strongly based on our cultures it can be very difficult to avoid it – and realistically, there is no need to avoid it.
Your best bet is to try your best to limit your consumption. If you can keep your daily intake to around 200-300mg you will experience the health benefits without having to worry about adverse side effects and negative aspects of your health.
Gabriello is a writer and strength expert best known for his science-based and practical approach to Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Strength. After serving in a directors position for The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Gabriello moved towards writing to help more people understand the importance of living a healthy life. Gabriello’s writings have been published in several languages on some of the largest health and fitness websites helping people learn, grow and understand the complex components of optimizing human performance in a simplistic way.
Gabriello also takes on specialized, high-performance athletes who are in need of strength, mobility and conditioning programming to optimize their fitness through his Earned Fitness program.
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