I Tracked My Caffeine Intake For One Week… Here’s What I Learned.

For those that don’t know, March is indeed the most special month of the year for all the caffiends out there.

It’s Caffeine Awareness Month in North America!

And what better way to kick it off by becoming aware of MY OWN caffeine habits?

Today’s article is a fun, genuine and insightful exploration of me trying to figure out my average daily caffeine intake that was brewed in partnership with the Canadian Beverage Association.

Am I WAY over the limit? Well within it?

Let’s find out!

Andy The RD’s Caffeine Consumption Habits

Three things to keep in mind before we go any further:

#1 I both work and live within a 15 second walk from a major coffee chain.

#2 Health Canada’s safe, moderate daily intake threshold for caffeine is 400 mg per day (for an otherwise healthy adult)

#3 Cold brew, which is exceptionally high in caffeine, is my thing.

This should be fun…

How Much Caffeine Are YOU ( Am I..) Really Consuming?

Today’s article has nothing to do with population level consumption data of caffeine (my next article will talk about that).

Nope, this one is all about ME!

So, let’s say, for the sake of argument & averages, that the average cup of coffee house coffee (237 ml~) contains around 133 mg of caffeine ( varies depending on the variety ie: brewed, roasted, instant have different levels) which pretty much means that 3 cups a day puts you at Health Canada’s 400 mg figure.

But here’s a fun fact that I did not know until recently!

The average coffee chain size medium coffee order actually ends up being 473 ml, which is technically two cups of coffee.

Smalls on the other hand are around 350 ml, which is 1.5 cups.

So, if you are like me and consume a large portion of your coffee purchased out, you aren’t looking at 3 medium or even small sized coffees a day to stay below 400 mg of caffeine.

Good to know right?!

If I was oblivious to this I bet many of you were too, or maybe it was just me?

The plot thickens though, let’s take a look at my favourite drinks: iced coffee & cold brew.

The Cold, Liquid Truth?

With this wealth of information at my disposal, it’s finally time to make an objective assessment of my own caffeine intake.

Something that I’ve admittedly avoided for a very long time!!

My general caffeine consumption pattern usually goes one of three ways:

1 Large Cold Brew – contains appx 300 mg caffeine!

OR less often…

1 Large Cold Brew + 1 “small” coffee – 300 mg + ~175 mg – 475 mg caffeine

OR…. on a really long day..

2 Large Cold Brews – 600 mg caffeine

So, when I make an objective assessment of my own caffeine intake, I am a bump over the 400 mg moderate daily intake level, but given I’m not particularly sensitive to caffeine I would say my personal tolerance level is above the Health Canada guide for the general population of healthy adults (excluding pregnant women and children).

In other words, despite being a little over 400mg I’m good!

Try this activity for yourself to see where you stand! To help you get started, here’s the caffeine content for commonly consumed caffeine containing products (in order of lowest to highest caffeine content):

  • 1x355mL can of cola, 34mg

  • 1x250mL cup of black tea, 47mg

  • 1x250mL can of energy drink, 80mg

  • 1x250mL cup of Home brewed coffee, 95mg

  • 1x250mL (“small”) Coffee house coffee, 175mg

  • 1x355mL (“medium”) cold brew coffee, 300mg

  • 1x473mL (“large”) coffee house coffee, 360mg

I’m Caffeine Aware, Are You?

Today’s article is just the tip of the caffeine iceberg, I will be celebrating Caffeine Awareness Month in epic fashion with tons of great content coming your way in the days and weeks to come.

Until then,

Andy De Santis RD MPH