How much is too much coffee? Study shows benefits of multiple cups a day

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’re a coffee lover, you may be pleased with the findings of a new study — but an expert also has a word of caution when it comes to how many cups you’re enjoying a day.

According to researchers in Portugal, for optimum benefits, many people would need to be drinking more coffee than they do now. The study found people who drink three to five (250 ml) cups of coffee per day display better motor control, increased attention and alertness, as well as an improvement in learning and memory.

While she’s interested with the findings of this study, Jessica Pirnak, a registered dietitian, says you shouldn’t drink that much coffee if you’re relying on the effects to get you through the day.

“The problem with that much coffee I find, too, is that if you’re relying on that boost at about 3 o’clock instead of actual food, you’re going to get that energy, but only for like half an hour, maybe half an hour, and then you’re just going to crash. So it really doesn’t, from an energy perspective, hold you at all,” she explained.

Pirnak says your best bet is to drink your coffee earlier in the day to maximize benefits and avoid a crash, and to substitute with water when possible.

There’s also the option of going the decaffeinated route.

“What I find really interesting is coffee itself, if you are a coffee lover, then you love the taste of it, you might not even need the caffeine. So try to keep the caffeine to less than 400 mg a day — an average cup of coffee is about 150, I would say,” she said, noting some coffees will have more caffeine than others, so be mindful of that.

“Caffeine in moderation is a totally fine thing to take — it’s probably the world’s most popular drug. This is something that is very, very prevalent, and we’re very much reliant on coffee,” Pirnak added.

“We all want to be able to get the most value and be most efficient with whatever we do. So, yes, if you love coffee and you love the caffeine boost, go for it. But I would probably stay more in the three cups of coffee (range) — not the five cups of coffee.”