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Everything you need to know about caffeine

Looking for information about California and FDA’s evaluation of the safety of decaffeinated coffee? Read about the baseless attacks on European Method decaf coffee and the scientific evidence that shows that drinking European Method decaf—like all coffee—is associated with significant health benefits.

What is caffeine?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Caffeine can be found naturally in the plants we use to make coffee, tea and chocolate.” The U.S Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 note that most intake of caffeine in the United States comes from coffee, tea, and soda.

How much caffeine is in coffee?

On average, 8 ounces of traditional drip coffee contain about 95 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine can vary naturally in different coffee beans, and caffeine per serving of coffee can vary according to preparation methods and serving sizes.

For example, preparation methods that use a small amount of water and finely ground beans (like for espresso) will produce a smaller, more concentrated cup of coffee compared to drip coffee. But, espresso has a smaller serving size, while drip coffee has a larger one.

Even decaffeinated coffee contains a very small amount of caffeine.

Is caffeine safe? What are its effects?

According to the FDA, “caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people,” and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer a guideline of consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine per day (about four cups of coffee).

In fact, decades of scientific evidence show that drinking coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) is associated with unique health benefits, including overall increased longevity and decreased risk of chronic disease.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says caffeine can increase alertness, decrease fatigue, and improve reaction times. It may also help reduce appetite, and prevent weight gain.

JAMA has also concluded that consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is associated with decreased risk of death overall, as well as with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease and multiple types of cancer.

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends drinking coffee “regularly” and concludes that coffee lowers risk of liver and endometrial cancers.

Check out all the evidence regarding coffee and health from head to toe here.

How much caffeine is safe?

Regulators and health authorities in the United States and around the world have concluded moderate caffeine intake can be part of healthy diets for most adults - generally up to 400 mg per day, or more than 4 cups of coffee. Guidelines may vary for people with certain medical conditions or who are taking medications.

People may consume caffeine from multiple sources or their bodies may respond to caffeine differently, so everyone should check health recommendations from recognized authorities, and consult their own physicians with any questions.

While caffeine in coffee can be part of healthy diets, highly concentrated powders or liquids can contain much more caffeine than coffee. The FDA says that rapid consumption of 1,200 milligrams or more of caffeine may have dangerous health effects.

Can caffeine be consumed during pregnancy?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has concluded that consuming up to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (more than 2 cups of coffee) is not associated with miscarriage or preterm birth.

A 2021 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that consuming a low amount of caffeine during pregnancy could help to reduce gestational diabetes risk and that “low-to-moderate caffeine is not associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or hypertension” during pregnancy.