Coffee is a controversial little beverage, isn’t it? Some folks will tell you that caffeine is poison, and others will say that a little coffee in moderation is a-OK. But what does moderation mean when it comes to coffee? How can you tell if you drink too much coffee?
A 17-year study looked to put a finger on exactly how much is too much coffee. They found that for men, drinking more than 28 cups of coffee per week (that’s 4 per day) was associated with a much higher risk for mortality. For women the risk seems to be mainly for the 55 and under set.
Define “A Cup of Coffee”
The study doesn’t specify what a “cup” means, but chances are they mean an actual cup: eight ounces. For consumers, though, the amount of coffee in one drink can vary quite a bit. If you’re getting your coffee at a coffee shop, for example, you’re probably getting more than eight ounces of coffee in that to go cup.
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As much as I’m not a fan of Starbucks coffee, they are the most ubiquitous coffee chain out there, and their cup sizes jive pretty well with other coffee shops. Here’s how much coffee is in one “cup” at different sizes:
- Short – 8 ounces – this is an actual cup of coffee
- Tall – 12 ounces – 1 1/2 cups
- Grande - 16 ounces – 2 cups
- Venti – 20 ounces – 2 1/2 cups
That means that if you drink two tall coffees, you’re hitting that four cup danger zone. And of course, this is for drip coffee. When it comes to espresso, think of one shot as one cup of coffee. Depending on the size, a latte or other espresso drink can have one to two shots (sometimes more!), so I’d ask when you order. They’ll be happy to give you as few shots as you want.
Too Much Coffee: Other Research
When the Care2 editors offered up this topic, I nabbed it because I kind of love keeping up on the latest coffee-related research. My husband and I are both avid coffee drinkers, and I’m always interested in how our habits are going to affect our long-term health.
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This study immediately brought to mind a few other studies I’d seen about how much is too much coffee and how much might actually be beneficial. Check these out:
- Two cups a day may just help prevent depression.
- Unfiltered coffee – like the sort that you make in a French press – is linked to higher cholesterol.
- A cup a day may help women improve our memories.
- Coffee helped men in one study achieve higher endurance levels in weight training.
- A daily cup of coffee can help cut your risk of stroke by 20 percent.
So what does it all mean? What I take away is that – just like with anything else – coffee is fine in moderation. A cup or two as a pick-me-up? No big deal. In fact, it could be beneficial. Constantly drinking coffee all day? Probably not a great idea for your health. What do you guys think about all of this coffee research? Do you think that you drink too much coffee?