7 June 11 Caffeine

Caffeine is a fascinating, naturally occurring drug that has all sorts of physiological effects on human beings. Within a range of intake (that will vary between individuals), caffeine can enhance wakefulness, sports performance, and mental acuity. However, for some folks who are sensitive to caffeine, any amount or an amount above their typical intake will push them into an uncomfortable physical state – nervousness, anxiety, jitteriness, upset stomach, irritability, and decreased physical and mental performance. There are also those of us who are become used to caffeine and require a certain dose to feel alert or to prevent headaches. If you find yourself unable to function effectively without caffeine, then please consider getting more sleep!

Moderate Intake

Mayo Clinic considers 200-300 mg of caffeine consumption per day to be moderate. More than 500-600 mg daily is considered heavy consumption and is more likely to cause unpleasant side effects. Keep this in mind as you read through this blog post.

Many thanks to Energy Fiend for a very helpful and humongous caffeine database – it was a great resource for this post.

By the way, I am not a fan of concentrated or super-charged caffeinated products. Please do not interpret my listing of these products as support for using them.

Caffeine Powders, Shots and Ampules

These will give you the most caffeine for the smallest amount of product. Examples: DynaPep (80 mg/ 4-ml ampule = 571 mg per fl oz), Fixx Extreme (400 mg/0.17oz packet), and 5150 Energy Mix (500 mg/fl oz shot). These products are higher in caffeine than most caffeine and diet pills on the market – those tend to top off at about 200 mg/pill (No Doz Maximum Strength) - 250 mg/capsule (Super Caps Xtreme and Yellow Subs Xtreme).

Caffeinated Candies

The highest caffeine content per standard serving size of candy is 600 mg and the dubious honor is shared amongst several products:


The single highest naturally-occurring food or beverage source of caffeine is espresso at approximately 50 mg/oz (or 75-80 mg caffeine/1.5 oz shot). Regular drip coffee contains about 18 mg/oz (about 145 mg/cup), strong drip like Starbuck's contains about 22.5 mg/oz (about 180 mg/cup or "short" size), brewed coffee can be anywhere between 9-13 mg/oz.

If you want a reason to drink espresso or coffee instead of buying caffeine powder or shots, then consider the lighter caffeine load as well as the possible health benefits of drinking coffee (see "Coffee and Your Health" at WebMD).

Caffeinated Energy Drinks

These are packaged like soda pop and typically come in sizes ranging from 8 fl oz to 23.5 fl oz. The caffeine punch comes from the volume consumed as opposed to a high caffeine content/oz. These drinks can range anywhere from 30-40 mg/oz (e.g. Spike Shooter with 300 mg/8.4 oz to as low as 2 mg/oz (e.g. Vitamin Water Energy Citrus with 42 mg/20 oz). Calories vary by brand.

Most standard sodas and diet sodas contain less than 5 mg/oz (60 mg or less per 12oz can). 7-Up and decaf sodas do not contain caffeine whereas Diet Pepsi Max contains just under 6 mg/oz or about 70 mg/can).


The longer you brew black or green tea, the higher the caffeine content. Black tea can range anywhere between 5 mg – 15 mg/oz (or about 40 mg – 120 mg per cup). Green tea is lower in caffeine than black tea and contains about 3 – 4 mg/oz (about 25-30 mg/cup). Herbal teas are not technically teas and they do not contain caffeine.


Dark chocolate (23 mg/oz unsweetened chocolate) is higher in caffeine than milk chocolate (about 7.5 mg/oz, e.g. about 6 Hershey's Kisses).

By the way, you can track caffeine in MyNetDiary – just go to your PLAN tab on the web and include that as a nutrient to track.
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Alcohol & Other Beverages/Coffee & Tea Nutrients/Caffeine

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