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.