Caffeine: Risks and Benefits

Like many of us, you may start your day with a cup of coffee. Have you considered the risks associated with your daily habit? Many studies have shown that moderate consumption of caffeine is not harmful. This finding has been confirmed by the American Medical Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Caffeine consumption of less than 300 mg per day (3 cups of coffee) is considered moderate.

People seem to have different levels of sensitivity to caffeine. Some may use caffeine to stay awake when they are tired; others can consume caffeine and immediately fall asleep. According to the experts, people don't become addicted to caffeine. The symptoms they may experience from a sudden restriction of caffeine -- headache, restlessness, irritability -- are really due to their level of sensitivity.

Most medical professionals agree that a gradual decrease in caffeine consumption over a period of time eliminates these symptoms. There are no apparent negative affects of moderate caffeine consumption, but there are some possible benefits. The American Dietetic Association reports that caffeine may help protect against gallstones, Parkinson's disease, cavities, and type 2 diabetes.