What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a substance found in many foods and drinks, like coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda and chocolate. Caffeine comes from leaves and seeds of different plants, like coffee beans or tea leaves.

What does caffeine do to my body?

The effect caffeine has on your body depends on how much you have. If you have small amounts of caffeine, it can help you feel more awake, focused and alert.

If you have large amounts of caffeine, it can:

  • Make you feel jittery or anxious (nervous)
  • Cause headaches
  • Keep you up at night when you should be asleep
  • Cause you to urinate (use the bathroom) more often than usual
  • Make certain heart problems worse
  • Cause bones to lose calcium (a mineral that helps keep bones strong) over time

How much caffeine is okay for me to have every day?

Teens can have about 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine every day. That’s about 1 small cup of coffee or tea, 1-2 cans of soda or 1 energy drink every day.

How can I cut back on caffeine?

  • Keep track of how much caffeine you have every day. This includes drinks and food. What can you replace with healthier choices, like water, low-fat milk or a healthy snack?
  • Cut back by 1 serving of caffeine every day. Cutting back on caffeine can cause headaches, grouchiness and fatigue (feeling tired). Over time, you won’t feel like you need as much caffeine to get through the day.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch. Caffeine stays in your system for 5-6 hours after you’re done drinking or eating. Not having caffeine after lunch can help you feel relaxed during the day and sleep better at night.
  • Set your caffeine limit and stick to it. If you reach your limit, try drinking water, low-fat milk or having a healthy snack, like fruit.
  • Use a caffeine tracker app. Apps can help you set limits, learn the amount of caffeine in different products and stay on track with how much caffeine you have every day.
    • Caffeine per Day®. A free app that tells you how much caffeine you can have every day based on your age. Enter your sources of caffeine and get reminders for when you’ve gone over your limit.
    • Caffeine Tracker®. ($0.99). A low-cost app that lets you set your own caffeine limits, track your sources of caffeine and enter serving sizes. It also tells you when you’ve reached your limit and lets you share your accomplishments with others, like sticking to your limit.
    • Caffeine Dictionary®. ($1.99). A low-cost app where you can look up how much caffeine is in different drinks and food.

How much caffeine is in my favorite products?

The boxes below show much many milligrams (mg) of caffeine are in some of your favorite products.

Products with low amounts of caffeine Products with mediium amounts of caffeine Products with high amounts of caffeine

These products have fewer than 100mg of caffeine per serving. You can have these products 2-3 times every day.

  • 8 oz. of brewed green tea = 24-45 mg
  • 8 oz. of instant iced tea = 11-47 mg
  • 8 oz. of bottled iced tea = 5-40 mg
  • 1 can of Coke® = 23-35 mg
  • 1 can of Diet Coke® = 23-47 mg
  • 1 can of Pepsi®= 32-39 mg

These products have 14-80mg of caffeine per serving. You can have these products no more than 1 time a day.

  • 8 oz. brewed black tea = 14-70 mg
  • 1 can of Red Bull®, regular or sugar-free = 75-80 mg
  • 1 can of Rockstar®, regular or sugar-free = 79-80 mg

These products have more than 100mg of caffeine per serving. You can have these products no more than 4-5 times a week.

  • 8 oz. of brewed coffee = 95-200 mg
  • 8 oz. of a latte or mocha = 63-175 mg
  • 1 bottle of 5-Hour Energy Shot® = 200-207 mg
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips = 104 mg
  • 28 chocolate-dipped coffee or espresso beans = 336 mg

A note for your family...

Try to be aware of how much caffeine your teen is drinking or eating every day. Set a good example of responsible caffeine consumption (eating and drinking). Watch for signs that your teen is having too much caffeine, like feeling restless, not sleeping or headaches.

Rev. 8/2016. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.