Caffeine is a substance found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, kola nuts, and certain medications. It has many effects on the body's metabolism including stimulating the central nervous system. This will give you a temporary boost of energy, but afterwards, you may feel more tired than usual.
The following are the average amounts of caffeine in certain food items:
5oz. coffee (115mg)
12oz. coca-cola (55mg)
12oz. iced tea (70mg)
1oz. chocolate milk (6mg)
1 tablet cold relief medicine (30mg)
For most people, drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day is not harmful. However, too much caffeine can make you restless, anxious and irritable. It can also keep you from falling asleep at night and cause headaches and abnormal heart rhythms. There is no nutritional need for caffeine in the diet, so it can be avoided altogether. If you decide to reduce caffeine in your diet, do it gradually to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as drowsiness, headaches, irritability.
Caffeine may also have a negative effect on a child's nutritional status, in that caffeinated drinks replace healthy drinks such as milk or water. A child who consumes a large amount of caffeine may also eat less because caffeine reduces the appetite. As a result, the child may take in less nutrients in their diet.
So the next time you reach for a cup of coffee or soft drink, try reaching for the milk, water or 100% fruit juice instead.
Mrs. Jarvis, RN