Caffeine has been in our drinks for thousands of years and is found in more than 60 plants including tea, coffee and cacao. But powdered caffeine, sold online for the benefit of those looking to make their own caffeinated products, is changing the game. Recipes that use it are dicey because the doses are so small and the consequences of overdose can be deadly. This is why the FDA recommends against any use of powdered caffeine. Here are some things you should know about caffeine, both in its natural and man-made forms, to keep you and your family safe.
How Much is Too Much?
A toxic dose is 5,000-10,000mg, about the amount in about 20 large coffees. A teaspoon of powdered caffeine has about the same amount. The powdered form is most dangerous because of its potency, but children are also susceptible to caffeine in its natural form. Lower doses make them sick, leading to several hundred overdoses each year from drinks and other products.
Never Measure the Powder Yourself
It is virtually impossible to accurately measure the correct amount using regular household measuring tools because the amounts are tiny. Those planning to use the powdered version should buy in fixed dose capsules to avoid adding too much. The powder should never be directly consumed, regardless of whether in pill or powdered form.
Just Because It’s On the Market Doesn’t Make It Safe
These powders can be marketed directly to consumers without the approval of the FDA. The FDA only gets involved to assess claims a company might be making about its product. Don’t assume that because something is being sold in stores it must be safe for you to use.
There Are Limits on How Much You Should Have
You should consume no more than 600mg of caffeine per day and most doctors recommend keeping consumption around 100-200mg. A diet coke has about 45mg of caffeine. An 8oz cup of coffee has about 95mg. For help determining how much caffeine you’re consuming, check out this guide to see how much caffeine is in your drink.
Caffeine in Kids
Caffeine is safe in children at low doses (45mg at most). Caffeine won’t stunt growth, but it can increase heart rate, blood pressure, cause difficulty sleeping and concentrating and cause headaches. While many children don’t drink coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks are increasingly popular in younger children and are packed with caffeine. Caffeine can even be found in jelly beans and gum. Keep an eye on how much of these your child is getting.