There’s something to be said for that morning cup of coffee that a lot of us enjoy. It helps to wake us up and get us moving. Those extra few cups certainly don’t hurt and keep things moving until our bodies and minds manage to finish waking up and take over. In the end, a lot of us end up consuming plenty of cups of coffee per day and can even feel reliant on it to help keep us functional throughout the day. That does raise the question of whether that’s a healthy level of daily coffee consumption or if it is a caffeine addiction. After all, caffeine is a drug. It is simply one most of us have ready access to at all points of our lives. Let’s take a closer look at what helps to distinguish the difference between normal consumption, addiction, and whether that’s even a meaningful distinction when it comes to caffeine.
Coffee and You
We’re going to be focusing on coffee as this is the typical source of caffeine for most of us. Let’s be clear here and stress that it is by no means the only source of caffeine. Teas, energy drinks, sodas, and plenty of other drinks all have caffeine in them as well. Each tends to play to a particular crowd though and coffee is mostly universal. As a general rule, most of us have one to two cups in the morning to help ourselves wake up. This is relatively healthy and within the safe limits of the amount of caffeine you can take in. Here’s the thing though: that’s typically the limit for most people. Depending on the roast, the recommended amount of cups of coffee that any one person can have varies between 2 and 5 cups of coffee. That’s roughly 500 mg of caffeine and the safe limit for the sake of your health.
Drinking Above The Limit
Two cups can seem a bit limiting to those of us used to drinking more of it each day. You can stretch out the number of cups you’re allowed to have by favoring a darker roast. The two cup limit tends to apply strictly to robust medium roasts. You can, of course, also just drink decaf if you want more coffee. There are other options out there as well that can further extend this limit if you’re not willing to give up the caffeine. Half-caff coffees mix together quality decaf and caffeinated coffee so that you get half the caffeine while still being able to enjoy the taste. Pushing the limits does mean you’re going to need to keep a careful on how far you exceed them though. Consider using a site like Caffeine Informer to help you figure out a personalized consumption plan that keeps you within your limits or gives you an idea of your specific limits through a handy calculator that factors in both the drink you’re having and your weight as opposed to a set of general rules.
Addiction or Adulation?
It can actually be harder than you’d like to think to determine if you simply enjoy coffee or if it is an addiction. The truth is the answer is “Yes” to both options. Caffeine tends to generate at least a low level of physical dependence in people who drink it regularly. That’s part of why missing your morning coffee makes you a bit grouchy. After all, not only are you tired and groggy, but your body is feeling sluggish from the withdrawal and lack of caffeine. In some ways, there really is no way to regularly drink a caffeinated drink and not be physically addicted to it. The good news is that a caffeine addiction is both highly common and relatively easy to get past even if it is long standing. Most experts recommend cutting back on caffeine in stages to minimize withdrawal symptoms. The key to focus on is stepping back to healthy levels if you’ve been drinking beyond the safe daily amount.
While your daily coffee consumption may actually be satisfying an addiction, you can at least take heart in the fact that consuming caffeine within safe levels actually benefits your health. Not many addictions can actually make that claim. Staying within the safe limits is the trick for most of us though. Web resources and talking with your doctor can help you figure out if your caffeine habit is healthy or not and help give you the shove you need towards healthier levels of consumption.