Caffeine Myths and Facts


Is Caffeine Healthy or Not?

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that has been enjoyed by people for thousands of years.

It is generally regarded as the most widely consumed food/drug in the world. Caffeine enhances certain aspects of both physical and mental performance, as well as alertness.

People who use caffeine regularly and responsibly to make the most of their day, often face conflicting and confusing statements regarding the effects of caffeine on a person’s health.

Luckily, caffeine is one of the most comprehensively studied substances with centuries of safe consumption when taken in moderate doses.

As a result, there is a vast amount of scientific data that can provide answers to the many questions that exist surrounding the use of caffeine.

Myth: Caffeine is not safe.

The Facts

Because caffeine is so widely used, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviewed and deemed it as safe and effective. In 1958, caffeine was placed on the Food and Drug Administration’s list as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

A comprehensive review of caffeine safety was recently published and concluded that moderate daily caffeine intake at doses up to 400 mg per/day was not associated with adverse effects such as general toxicity, cardiovascular effects, effects on bone status and calcium balance (with consumption of adequate calcium), changes in adult behavior, increased incidence of cancer and effects on male fertility. Src.

Another article that reviewed the effects of caffeine on human behavior also concluded that caffeine is unlikely to cause adverse events when taken in moderation. Src.

People with pre-existing health problems may want to consult their physician regarding their use of caffeine.

Experts agree that moderation and common sense are the keys to safe consumption of caffeine.

What is considered a “normal” amount of caffeine depends on an individual’s sensitivity and can be affected by frequency and amount of intake, body weight, age, and a person’s overall health.

Myth Busted? Yes, the research would tell us that caffeine is safe in moderation.

is caffeine addictive

Myth: Caffeine is an addictive drug.

The Facts:

Caffeine is a pharmacologically active substance; it can work as a mild stimulant, and therefore is considered a drug. Few caffeine users report loss of control of caffeine intake or significant difficulty in reducing or stopping caffeine if desired. Thus, caffeine is mildly addictive, but it is not on the same level as other addictive stimulants.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse doesn’t include caffeine on its Commonly Abused Drugs List.

However, people can have some dependency and level of addiction to caffeine. Many feel they need it to function normally and can have withdrawal symptoms if they miss their daily dose. We put together a useful Caffeine Addiction Diagnosis Tool to help determine a person’s level of dependency.

It is also important to note that caffeine overdose and withdrawal is now included in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Myth Busted? This myth would be partially true. Caffeine has some addictive properties, but not all that would allow it to fully be considered a dangerous addictive substance.


Myth: Caffeine causes heart problems

The Facts:

A comprehensive review of caffeine safety was recently done and published, which concluded that moderate daily caffeine intake at a dose level up to 400 mg per/day was not associated with cardiovascular effects. Src.

Furthermore, the Framingham Heart Study examined potential links between caffeine intake and cardiovascular disease. This study showed that there is no significant relationship between caffeine consumption and development of stroke or cardiovascular disease. Thus, it was concluded that moderate caffeine consumption is not a factor in the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

A Harvard University study confirmed this report, concluding that caffeine intake does not “appreciably increase the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.” In fact, the Framingham study also concluded that caffeinated coffee drinkers had a 43% less risk of cardiac death. Src.

However, caffeine can be dangerous for those with underlying heart conditions. This is especially dangerous for minors because they may not yet have been diagnosed. The severe reactions to caffeine and even deaths are usually attributed to those with underlying heart problems.

Myth Busted? Yes, There is yet no evidence linking caffeine to causing heart disease or heart disorders.


Myth: Caffeine Causes Cancer

The Facts:

Many studies have looked at the relationship between caffeine intake and increased risk of certain cancers, but no associations have been discovered or supported by this research. Src.

Other studies have shown that caffeine when consumed via caffeinated coffee even has a cancer preventative effect. This probably is the result of the antioxidants contained in the coffee beans, but the same correlations were not observed among decaffeinated coffee drinkers.

Myth Busted? Yes, there is no research that supports this belief.

All in Moderation

Based on what science in currently telling us, caffeine consumed in moderation (<400mg/day) will most likely produce no ill effects in healthy adults.

However, excessive caffeine consumption can lead to adrenal fatigue and severe withdrawal symptoms, so some caution should be taken if daily amounts are becoming excessive. Overdose symptoms range from mild to dangerous, and caffeine is lethal at a high enough dosage.

Much of the research surrounding caffeine has been performed on adults or lab rats, so the risk to children isn’t fully understood.

It isn’t clear how caffeine can potentially affect an individual while they are still growing. This is important since highly caffeinated energy drinks are often consumed by this age group.

Recently the American Medical Association endorsed a ban that would restrict the advertisement of energy drinks to minors.

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  • Nic

    of course Vivarin is going to tell you caffine is safe, their entier company is based on people buying caffine pills.

  • Storm

    Forget the Vivarin tablet and drink your 2 cups of coffee and get your antioxidents too.

  • Barbara

    Vivaran can say all it wants, the antioxidents in tea have been around much longer and are much safer~! Tea bags are portable, and water is available almost everywhere~!…Hot or cold, tea gets my vote~!

  • When we know that caffeine does damage our nervous system very much then why the hell are we discusing it’s positive aspects.

  • “…caffeine is not addictive and is not listed in the category of addicting stimulants.”

    Apparently they’ve never tried to quit!

  • Peter

    caffine is not addictive.I took 450mg of caffine a day for six months solid and I stopped using the next day and I was fine.

  • One: Stimulent withdrawl is not at all dangerous and is more classifiably mood altering then psysiologicaly altering. So caffene can be addictive as a stimulent, but the w/d just may have been very tollerable to you.

    Two: just becase you didnt get addicted dosnt mean its not addictive. Some people have reported no addiction to heroin, dose that make it non-addictive? Fuck no!

  • pedro

    should someone who is bipolar skip any coffee?(caffiene)

  • Gin

    I totally agree that caffine is addicting, can help with ones attention span but, my question is how much is safe and how much will get you addicted? All the reports that I have read say that 400mg is normal or the max. But do any of us stop and see how much caffine is in our soda? Matter of fact I haven’t found a can of soda that even lists in the ‘nutritional facts’ how much caffine is one can, Have you?

  • Emily

    i’m not an expert, but my understanding is that someone who has a bipolar disorder will not be overly affected by the caffeine. The main reason it is discouraged among persons who are bipolar is that caffeine reduces the amount of sleep a person gets, and sleep is necessary for those with bipolarism as it helps lower the number of manic episodes.

  • Quetion: Does anyone know if you loose weight drinking energy drinks? – to date, being a new energy drink drinker, I have losted 6 pounds in the last 2 weeks.

  • HaCo’

    as far as bipolar, my husband who is severely bipolar usually begins to experience intensely agitated mood swings w/in 5 minutes of 1/2 cup, unless he follows with 25mg Seroquel…. my thinking: not the best beverage choice

  • Sage Dahm, CNHP

    For anyone wanting to know more about the not talked about serious effects of caffeine on health. I suggest reading a little of this book, Caffeine Blues: Wake Up To The Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug, Warner Books 1998, ISBN # 0-446-67391-9, written by Stephen Cherniske, MS (Research and Clinical Nutritionist.

    Also, its not only the caffeine we should look out for but the other substances in the drinks and foods that surround caffeine. It pays to remember that these drinks and foods are man-created to relieve you of your money. Your health (the you, you have to live with for the rest of your life) is not a consideration to them. Despite what the “java jive” may have you believing you’re only a piece of meat to these companies. Do not accept that.

    Note: Though I am a long-time natural health practitioner and educator, I make no money from promoting this book, “Caffeine Blues”.

  • Matt Main

    who cares if caffeine is addictive!!!!!
    damn you people take this tooo seriously!!!
    just dont do too many physical or strenuous activities and you wont go into cardiac arrest!!!
    speaking from experience(no cardiac arrest but it felt like my heart was going to burst)

  • Ben

    I disagree with the statement “Caffeine is not addictive.” I drank 2 cups of coffee every morning for 3 months, and the one day I didn’t have it, my head was pounding. I felt sick all day until I had a chance to pick up more instant coffee and then I felt fine. Being a smoker as well, I thought maybe I needed a cigarette, but that didn’t help at all. It actually exacerbated the situation.

  • James Quirk

    Caffeine is used as an additive to many drinks to MAKE them addictive so as to have a whole society addicted to caffeine in one way or another. From Coffee and tea for adults (natural Caffeine sources) to Sodas and energy drinks for children and young adults, the companies that supply them are very aware that they are addictive. WHY would you put caffeine in a child’s drink???? To help them stay awake through a hard long day??? NO.. to addict them.. Caffeine raises brain activity temporarily and then the brain finds a normal activity spot, then you increase the caffeine and the brain increases activity for a period of time and then finds a normal point again…. Soon your brain on large amounts of caffeine is at a normal activity state.. Then if you don’t maintain the levels of caffeine your brain activity falls well below what is normal and you start shaking and get a headache. You feel tired and UNMOTIVATED… You have to have some caffeine to charge back up to normal.. incidentally if you would have left the caffeine alone the brain activity would be normal already and you wouldn’t have to have the stimulant to get it up to normal. Caffeine is a good stimulant if you need a temporary boost once and a while, and not addictive. But if you get to the point above by daily intake of caffeine your body tries to maintain the level to remain NORMAL and therefore causes an ADDICTION>>>> due to the dependency on caffeine to maintain a NORMAL level of brain activity… And you can say it is bull either as a drug addict that is addicted to it or a scientist that is on the payroll of the DRUGDEALERS that sell it, but the truth is always the truth… Anybody that has a small amount of reasoning can make the same conclusion. The damage caused by caffeine may be minimal to null, but the fact that it is served to you to MAKE YOU ADDICTED, so they can have a captive consumer to get their riches is plenty enough reason for me to leave it alone, and to restrict it from my children.

  • spazysteve

    i don’t know what you guys are talking about I am a 16 year old high school student and i had an energy drink almost everyday for three and a half months on my off campus lunch hour, then school got out for the summer and I quit cold turkey, nothing happened.

  • cory

    caffeine + me= Love. if i died from an energy drink at least id be helping the producer in buying their product:)

  • Its simple

    I completely agree that caffine is addictive. i seen other people who drink loads and suffer when They don’t. Therefore (and this is also including James Quirks essay) if there is proof that caffine is addictive then how do we no that the other myths are myths and this website is making them myths in order to get us to increase our intake of caffine. The makers of this website has shown no empirical proof that the myths are actual myths. A classic example of don’t believe everything you read.

  • ….

    Yes, caffine is addictive at least to me because if i dont have the substance i feel like stabbing somone for a cup of coffee

Last Modified: December 16, 2016