How Much Is Too Much?

Today’s fear-mongering foodie article courtesy of the beloved Groovehouse:

Caffeine involved in 4,600 calls to poison control

Interesting, and yet you make it through this entire Ric Romero-esque article only to realize that nowhere in there has the author told the audience what the recommended daily limit on caffeine is or even what amount of caffeine could be considered poisonous.


So just for the record, an acute caffeine overdose occurs at about the 300 milligram intake level.  That means the popular energy drink “Free Cocaine” is just 20 milligrams shy of putting you or your child into overdose territory.  Also, it bears mentioning that if you’re allowing your child to have energy drinks, you should be put into public stockades so that you can be repeatedly punched in the head for all to witness.

A caffeine overdose is marked by nervousness, increased urination, muscle spasms, a rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, and psychomotor agitation.  And you thought “Rock Star” was sexy…

Caffeine toxicity and death can occur at an intake level of 150 to 200 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.  So if you weighed 150 pounds, consuming 13,600 milligrams (or 13.6 grams) of caffeine could easily lead to death.  That’s 136 cups of espresso, 906 cans of Jolt cola, or just 56 cups of Starbucks coffee (240 mg of caffeine in a tall, folks!).  Seems like you’d have to seriously overdose on coffee or sodas to die, right?  Wrong — deaths have been reported after consuming only two grams of caffeine.

Anyway, this post wasn’t intended as a PSA or a “ZOMG!!!1! Teh caffeine is evil” rant.  I’m just saying two things here: (1) easy on the Red Bull, stud and (2) when you go to the trouble of writing an article on the deathly (!!!!!!) effects of a substance, at least include some figures to back it up.

6 thoughts on “How Much Is Too Much?”

  1. You better start attacking Starbucks then. A 20 OZ grande coffee has over 500 mg of caffeine and kids drink that stuff all the time.

    Of course, Starbucks is not a controversial name, so I guess 500 mg from Starbucks is safe, only from Cocaine is it bad.

  2. @ Jamey: I’m an equal-opportunity hater, my friend. If you’ll read down a bit further, you’ll see where I marvelled at the fact that a Tall coffee at Starbucks contains a whopping 240 mg of caffeine.

    I didn’t say anything negative about Free Cocaine (which, by the way, I will right now: what the hell kind of name is that for a drink? you’ve put yourself out there for public mockery when you name something that’s marketed towards teens and young adults after an illegal, highly harmful, highly addictive substance). I just noted that the drink has a very high amount of caffeine in it.

    And kids should not be drinking caffeine in these kinds of amounts, from Starbucks or from anywhere else. Period.

    Thanks for dropping by, though!

  3. Kids + caffeine = BAD freaking thing. Period. Kids should be drinking water, milk and natural juices with no sugar. Wonder why the little snot gobblers can’t sit still in class, much less learn anything? Get a clue, people.

    Oh, and, really??? Free Cocaine??? Just proves some companies will do anything for a buck, regardless of how wrong it may be. The name and contents are indefensible.

  4. “Of course, Starbucks is not a controversial name, so I guess 500 mg from Starbucks is safe, only from Cocaine is it bad.”

    The jokes just write themselves don’t they?

  5. “did you know that caffeine is the only drug every newborn has in their system at birth because it is so prevalent in our food? scary.”

    So THAT’s why newborns can’t sleep for more than 20 freaking minutes at a time.

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