Diane May Nutrition Blog

The Buzz About Caffeine

March 17th, 2014

Many people reach for a cup of coffee first thing in the morning.  Coffee contains caffeine, which is a mild stimulant that can make you feel more alert and helps to fight that foggy feeling to help you focus. It is also important to note that caffeine is found not just in coffee but tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, candy, gum and chocolate as well as some medications. Some people should avoid caffeine if they have certain conditions:

  • Osteoporosis
  • GERD (acid reflux)
  • Severe PMS
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), or other serious GI distress
  • Chronic headaches
  • Kidney stones
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Anxiety and sleep disturbances
  • Fibrocystic breast disease

Everyone has a different tolerance to caffeine and there are a number of potential risks and benefits of consuming it.

Potential health benefits:

  • It can delay fatigue and improve mental acuity.
  • Has anti inflammatory properties, which may help to prevent certain cardiovascular illnesses.
  • May help protect human brain cells, therefore It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Can reduce the risk of oral and liver cancer.
  • Intake may protect against Type 2 diabetes (but use decaf as regular coffee can raise blood glucose levels in the short term), Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
  • A 2013 study by Harvard’s School of Public Health found that people who drank 2-3 cups of coffee a day decreased their risk of suicide by 45%.

Potential health risks:

  • Large amounts of caffeine can lead to decreases in bone mineral density, which leads to thinning bones (osteoporosis).
  • Interferes with quality sleep.
  • Causes dehydration.  Drinking coffee should not count towards your daily fluid intake.
  • Interacts with certain medications-Thyroid medications, certain antibiotics, Tagament and psychotropic medications to name a few.
  • It raises blood pressure and blood glucose levels, which can impact people taking insulin and those with diabetes.
  • Can cause: anxiety, jitters, stomach upset, fast heartbeat and insomnia.
  • It is addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued (headaches, irritability, nausea and sleepiness).
  • Becomes a very high calorie drink when used as a vehicle to add sugar, cream and high calorie syrups, which leads to weight gain.
  • Can have hormone disrupting properties in women.
  • Can have negative effects on a developing baby as it crosses the placenta. Only have small amounts.

It has been proven that moderate amounts of coffee are safe for adults.  That equals 200-300 mg per day (2-4 eight ounce cups of brewed coffee a day), however, if you are consuming more than 4 cups a day, you are putting yourself at risk for health problems. So in moderation, enjoy, unless you have one of the health concerns that I listed above.

Average amounts of caffeine in food and pills:

  • Coffee 8 ounces (brewed)-60-150 mg
  • Tea 8 ounces -60-120 mg
  • Soda (colas) 12 ounces-45 mg
  • Mountain Dew 12 ounces-55 mg
  • Energy Drinks/bars-80-200+ mg
  • Excedrin 1 tab-65 mg
  • No Doz 1 tab-100 mg

Joy Cookies

From EatingWell:  November/December 2010

 Makes: 4 dozen cookies

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 3/4 hours


  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (see Tips)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted semisweet chocolate chips (see Tips)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted coconut (see Tips)
  • 48 sliced almonds



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with 1-inch sides with cooking spray.
  2. Beat sugar, butter, oil, egg, milk and almond extract in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt until well blended. (It will be a soft dough.) Spread the dough into the prepared baking pan in a thin layer.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into 48 bars.
  4. Decorate each bar with a drizzle of melted chocolate, a sprinkle of toasted coconut and an almond slice.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Store airtight, in a single layer, for up to 1 day or freeze undecorated cookies for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature before decorating. | Equipment: 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with 1-inch sides
  • Tips: To soften butter, let stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Or cut into small pieces and let stand for about 15 minutes. (Do not soften in a microwave—the uneven heat may melt the butter in spots.)
  • To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.
  • Toast coconut in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes.


Per bar: 53 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 6 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrates; 3 g added sugars; 1 gprotein; 0 g fiber; 32 mg sodium; 16 mg potassium.

The Buzz About Caffeine