The Buzz on Coffee
The latest research shows your morning pick-me-up may be brimming with health benefits.
Caffeine Caution continued...
The caffeine content of coffee varies widely, depending on the bean used,
the size of your cup, and how it is brewed. A standard 8-ounce cup of drip
coffee has 85 milligrams of caffeine, while a standard dose of pain reliever
with caffeine usually has 120 milligrams.
We each have our own thresholds for caffeine. Most people can tolerate two
cups of coffee each day with no problem. But more than that may cause
nervousness, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, sleeplessness, and irritability. It
can even lead to health problems such as osteoporosis or high blood pressure.
Of course, if you skip your usual morning cup, you can develop a caffeine
While coffee is the main source of caffeine for many people, it's also found
in energy drinks, soft drinks, tea, chocolate, and over-the-counter cold and
headache medicines. All these sources can add substantially to your daily
You might be surprised to learn that the "energy" from the popular
energy drinks comes in part from their caffeine content. Energy drinks are not
required to list their caffeine content on their labels, even though they can
have twice as much as caffeinated soft drinks. So consumers have no way of
knowing just how much caffeine they're getting. If you're a fan of energy
drinks, contact the manufacturer or go to its web site to learn how much
caffeine is in your favorite drink.
Beyond Caffeine, Calories Count
It amazes me how many people at Starbucks and other coffee houses order the
high-calorie special coffees, laden with whipped cream, flavored syrups, and/or
cream. Those add-ons can take a zero-calorie cup of coffee and turn it into
more than a meal's worth -- as much as 570 calories per cup.
Here's the rundown for a few common coffee additions:
- 2 tablespoons of flavored liquid nondairy creamer = 80 calories and 4 g
- 1 tablespoon of plain liquid nondairy creamer = 25 calories, 2 g fat.
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half = 20 calories, 2 g fat.
- 1 tablespoon cream = 50 calories, 6 g fat.
- 1 tablespoon whipped cream = 90 calories, 9 g fat.
- A drizzle of Starbucks caramel syrup = 25 calories.
- 2 tablespoons flavored syrup = 80 calories, no fat.
- 2 pumps of flavored sugar-free syrup = 0 calories.
- 2 tablespoons malt = 90 calories, 2 g fat.
- 1 tablespoon mocha syrup = 25 calories, 0.5 g fat.
- 1 teaspoon sugar = 15 calories.
The next time you order your favorite joe, try it black or with nonfat milk
and/or artificial sweeteners to get the health benefits without the extra
Play It Safe
Researchers are cautious about making public health claims. But it certainly
appears safe to keep drinking that delicious, aromatic, pick-me-up cup or two
of coffee each day.
Just be sure to keep your intake moderate, to be on the safe side. If you
experience palpitations, a rapid heartbeat or any symptoms associated with
caffeine overload, talk to your doctor about your coffee intake. The same goes
if you're pregnant, nursing, or have high blood pressure, heart disease, or