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Too Caffeinated for Your Own Good?

A new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence stresses the need for more regulation and monitoring of the use and marketing of highly caffeinated energy drinks like Monster and Rockstar, which can contain anywhere from a tolerable 50 mg per bottle to a brain-buzzing 500 mg or more. The researchers report these drinks have caused increased incidents of “caffeine intoxication,” with symptoms including nervousness, anxiety, stomach problems and insomnia, as well as caffeine dependency and withdrawal.

I know many athletes who follow caffeinated, pre-run rituals. Some down a cup of coffee, others chug a Red Bull. And lots are now choosing flavors of gu or gel spiked with caffeine to get an energy boost or two during a race. Add all that up and you might be surprised to discover you’ve surpassed the beneficial amount of daily caffeine and crossed into unhealthy territory. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should consume less than 500 to 600 mg of caffeine per day to avoid caffeine-related headaches, jitters and other ailments.

Think that’s a lot? Think again. Visit energyfiend.com and you’ll discover how loaded some of your favorite drinks are. Search a database that lists caffeine amounts in foods and drinks ranging from unsweetened baking chocolate (23.3 mg of caffeine per square) and Gu Energy Gel (20 mg per serving) to an Arizona Green Tea Energy (200 mg per 16 ounces) and Starbucks brewed grande coffee (330 mg per 16 ounces). Add up your daily intake and you might just decide to reconsider that tried-and-true rule: Everything in moderation.