According to Center for Science in the Public Interest, caffeine is the most popular, but least regulated, drug in the United States. But no matter if we get our eight hours of rest in each night, we all could use a little extra energy from time to time. But do you know exactly how much caffeine you’re ingesting each day? We decided to find out.
While caffeine isn’t necessarily bad for your health, it can impact the way you feel, such as affecting your sleep and giving you the jitters. So even if you can’t live caffeine-free, you should still monitor your intake. Here are the amounts of caffeine in seven most common things:
Probably the number-one thing you think of when hearing the word “caffeine,” coffee is the drink of choice for most who want a boost of energy in the morning. No matter if you’re drinking a dark roast or a mocha, you’re still consuming caffeine. But the amounts can differ immensely depending on what you’re drinking. Even making the choice between Starbucks and Dunkin (which is tough enough to begin with, honestly) can affect the amount of caffeine you’re imbibing. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Venti Blonde Roast at Starbucks packs in a mighty 475 milligrams of caffeine, while a medium hot coffee from Dunkin generates nearly half, at 210 milligrams. A Green Mountain K-cup has a mere 75 milligrams by comparison.
Another factor that can affect how much caffeine you’re consuming? Choosing between regular coffee and decaf. No, not because decaf obviously has no caffeine in it, but more like because it has some caffeine. While the numbers are low, decaf generally does contain small amounts of caffeine: a decaf coffee at Starbucks, Dunkin and Panera rings in 10-25 milligrams of caffeine within a 16 oz. cup.
More of a cup of tea girl than a cup of joe? Don’t worry, you’re still getting caffeinated, just not nearly as much. An 8 oz. cup of hot green tea, for example, contains less than 30 milligrams, while a Starbucks Chai Latte contains nearly 100 milligrams of caffeine. Regular iced tea, such as a Snapple or Lemon Lipton Ice Tea, totals around 20-30 milligrams. And like coffee, decaf tea contains some caffeine: a hot Lipton brew has around 5 milligrams.
Are you one of those crazy types that doesn’t need a caffeinated hot drink to get her through her day? Congratulations, but how about chocolate? Did you know that this little bar of sweetness contains caffeine as well? Although, not nearly as much in comparison to coffee and tea. A classic Hershey’s Chocolate Bar or one single Hershey Kiss contains around 10 milligrams of caffeine. A Grande Starbucks Hot Chocolate will keep you caffeinated as well, ringing in around 24 milligrams. Even some chocolate-flavored almond and soy milks contain caffeine, but only about 4 milligrams per 8 oz.
Another sweet treat that’ll keep you feeling energized, ice cream is a frozen snack that many don’t realize can be caffeinated. While most strawberry, caramel and vanilla flavors are caffeine-free, having a scoop of chocolate or coffee ice cream before bed may keep you up at night. A 4 oz. size of Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream contains nearly 30 milligrams of caffeine, while Breyer’s only packs in 11 milligrams. Häagen-Dazs Chocolate may be a better evening option for some, as it contains less than 1 milligram of caffeine in a 4 oz. cup.
Besides quenching your thirst, many soft drinks also contain some caffeine. Just like choosing between coffee shops impacted your caffeine consumption, deciding between different brands and flavors can affect how much caffeine you intake. A 12 oz. can of Coke or Pepsi typically contains 30-60 milligrams of caffeine, but a Mountain Dew totals over 90 milligrams. A root beer may be your least-caffeinated choice, ringing in 22 milligrams of caffeine in a 12 oz. container.
Want to remain totally de-caffed? Grab a 7-Up, Sprite or Fanta—these sodas typically contain no caffeine in them at all.
While even we have to admit we expected energy drinks to be the ultimate winner when it comes to caffeine, it turns out that’s not always the case. A 16 oz. bottle of Amp, Monster and NOS Energy bring in over 150 milligrams of caffeine, but still contain less than a cup of coffee at Dunkin or Starbucks. 5-Hour Energy may live up to its name with 200 milligrams for merely 2 oz., but Bang Energy contains the highest amounts of caffeine in this category, with 357 milligrams per 16 oz. container.
Trying to alleviate a headache with some aspirin? You may be caffeinating yourself as well. But before you wonder why you’re energizing yourself while taking medicine, know that most brands intend to add caffeine to their pills. According to the National Headache Foundation, that’s because caffeline has “vasoconstrictive” properties that cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow and can aid in head pain relief. When caffeine ingested with acetaminophen or aspirin, the pain relieving effect is increased by 40%. That may explain why your Excedrin Migraine pills contain 130 milligrams of caffeine, Midol comes in second at 120 milligrams, and Bayer Back & Body contains just around 60 milligrams.