Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Caffeine Junkie

I'm not going to delve too deeply into my past here, but let's just say that in all of my "experimentation," I've never experienced any physical withdrawal symptoms nor have I found myself with a real addiction.

But this semester, I seem to have addicted myself to caffeine.

You know those migraines I mentioned the other day? And that weird hangover I developed several weeks back? Well, I think what I have been experiencing is what is called a caffeine rebound headache. If you have a certain amount of caffeine on a regular basis, your body apparently requires more of the stuff in order to keep your head from exploding. Some people handle this by just drinking more caffeine, but what you're supposed to do is to gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you ingest - by like five ounces per week - until you either cut it out completely or get down to a reasonable amount of caffeine ingestion.

I know what did it to me, too. I like coffee with milk, but it often tastes too weak for me. So when I discovered lattes - made with espresso - I was overjoyed. I figured one cup of coffee, one latte - about equal in terms of caffeine, right?


According to random web sources, a 5 oz cup of coffee contains 100mg of caffeine, while a shot of espresso contains 100mg. The "small" coffee at my favorite coffee place is 12 oz, so it would seem that the latte is the better deal if I'm watching my caffeine intake.

Except: I learned that my favorite coffee place makes its lattes with not one, not two, but THREE shots of espresso.

I was coming in to work in the morning and having a cup of coffee (200+mg). In the afternoon, I'd drink a 20-oz diet Coke (about 75mg). Then I was working in the coffee shop in the evenings and having a latte (300mg). That's about 600mg of caffeine per day.

According to the FDA, the average adult consumes 200mg per day - and 300mg is generally considered to be the safe daily amount for adults.

No wonder I have headaches.

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