Karen Schroeder Kassel, MS, RD, MEd
There are some conditions that may be improved if you decrease your caffeine intake. If your doctor suggests that you cut down on caffeine, here are some steps to help you do so.
Caffeine is a mild stimulant. Many people drink coffee, tea, or soda for this effect—it helps them feel more awake and alert. However, this stimulant effect can also cause jitters, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Each person's tolerance to caffeine is different. As we age, we become more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
You may be advised to reduce your caffeine intake in certain situations. For example:
First, you will need to know all the possible sources of caffeine in your diet. The following table should help understand the caffeine content of different beverages. While chocolate does not contain caffeine, for some people the theobromines in chocolate have similar effects. We have also listed the caffeine equivalents for some chocolate products below.
Some people experience headaches or drowsiness if they remove all sources of caffeine from their diet. Decreasing over a period of time can help prevent these effects. Try the following:
If you find that one of the above three methods of gradual cutting back works for you, then you can begin to:
If you are trying to lose weight, do not forget that juices and sugar-containing soft drinks may have more calories than some of the caffeinated beverages you are giving up.
You may be surprised at the caffeine content of your favorite beverages or of some of the over-the-counter products in your medicine cabinet. Be sure to check labels. Many sodas and other products come in caffeine-free forms, so look for these.
American Heart Association
International Food Information Council
Dietitians of Canada
Caffeine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 25, 2016. Accessed January 26, 2016.
Caffeine and heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Caffeine-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_305888_Article.jsp. Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed January 26, 2016.
Caffeine content of food & drugs. Center for Science in the Public Interest website. Available at: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm. Updated November 2014. Accessed January 26, 2016.
Cornelis MC, El-Sohemy A, Kabagambe EK, Campos H. Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction.
Lopez-Garcia E, van Dam RM, Willett WC, et al. Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease in men and women: a prospective cohort study.
Neurodegenerative disorders: coffee and age-related cognitive decline. Coffee & Health website. Available at: http://www.coffeeandhealth.org/coffee-and-health-topics/coffee-consumption-and-neurodegenerative-disorders/coffee-and-age-related-cognitive-decline/. Accessed January 26, 2016.
ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 14, 2015. Accessed January 26, 2016.
Last reviewed January 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services. All rights reserved.