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Dietitian Q/A

Because of the contents of some questions and the large number we receive, the MUSC Dietitians only answer selected questions. Although we discourage questions regarding personal health problems, scheduling an appointment with the outpatient dietitian to address these concerns is encouraged. Appointments can be made after a physician referral is received.

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 Question:  I had heard that coffee is good for you-how much caffeine is too much?


You have heard correctly; caffeine in modest amounts can actually be good for you. The important part of that statement is the "modest amounts". As with many things, there can be too much of a good thing. Research studies have shown that 3-4 cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce the risk of cardiovascular related deaths, reduce the risk of chronic liver disease, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and reduced risk of dementia/Alzheimer's disease.

On the other hand, research found that women who drink more than 5 cups of caffeinated coffee a day are at higher risk for ovarian cancer. Also any caffeine intake can raise blood pressure in everyone.

So if you are an individual with normal blood pressure, up to 3-4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day can be beneficial. If you have high blood pressure, the increase in blood pressure could outweigh the benefits. If you have high blood pressure, you should discuss your coffee consumption with your doctor to ensure your best health.

Answered: 03/25/2011

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