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Caffeine is a compound which naturally occurs in leaves and fruits of certain plants. It is classified as a stimulant drug and acts on the brain and nervous system. Caffeine is consumed in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and soft drinks.



Caffeine has the ability to provide a burst of energy. It is estimated that 50% of caffeine consumed in Australia is from coffee. A moderate intake of coffee has been found to be protective against a number of medical conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, type II diabetes and liver disease.



Caffeine is a stimulus which has an effect on the body, similar to that of the hormone adrenalin. Some signs and symptoms of an excessive caffeine intake may include:

  • dizziness,
  • headaches,
  • excitability,
  • restlessness,
  • prevention from sleeping,
  • dehydration,
  • heart palpitations,
  • frequent urination,
  • shakiness,
  • anxiety, and/or
  • irritability.


Furthermore, individuals can become ‘addicted’ to caffeine, requiring it in high doses or frequently throughout the day.


If caffeine intake is abruptly stopped, the following withdrawal symptoms may occur:

  • headache,
  • fatigued,
  • depressed mood,
  • anxiety, and/or
  • difficulty concentrating.


Recommended intake
No official value exists for an acceptable daily intake of caffeine, however it is generally accepted that most people should keep caffeine intake below 300mg per day. In Australia the amount of caffeine that can be added to certain products is regulated, and must be stated on the label of a product. Below are some examples of the amount of caffeine contained in some drinks/foods:

  • 1 teaspoon of instant coffee contains 60-80 mg,
  • 1 tea bag contains 10-50 mg,
  • 1 can of cola soft drink contains 48 mg, and
  • 100g of milk chocolate contains 20 mg of caffeine.


Furthermore, it is suggested that caffeine is avoided or limited for the following groups:
  • Pregnant women should avoid high amounts of caffeine as it may increase chances of miscarriage or result in delivery of a low birth weight infant,
  • Children should avoid caffeine as even small amounts of caffeine can cause irritability, interrupted sleep and stomach upsets, and
  • Athletes should use caution before consuming caffeine as some sports prohibit the use of caffeine.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.





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