Coffee for Athletes: How Much is Too Much?

Many athletes enjoy coffee as it works as a sure eye-opener in the morning. Some of them also use it amid training breaks, before training, and during competitions. Even as they do this, many questions about caffeine keep popping, and we feel it is fair to answer some of them. So, how much coffee should athletes drink? Let us find out in this guide. This information will help you make an informed decision next time you visit online tea and coffee shop.

Caffeine and Hydration

The warning that caffeine has a diuretic effect has been there for many years. It has also been shown to be dehydrating and cannot be used as a fluid replacer. Though these thoughts have been believed by some athletes, now we know differently.

It is true that the intake of caffeinated products cannot serve your fluid needs, especially if you are used to drinking caffeine each day. A bigger percentage of the world population relies on caffeine for some reason, but it is important to note that, for hydration purposes, caffeine should not replace other fluids.

What Does Research Say?

Studies conducted across the globe have revealed the health effects of caffeine. Some sources state that caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular infections. On the contrary, some scholars point out that caffeine intake might actually contribute to the risk of cardiovascular complications.

When asked, many coffee users report that they are unsure whether or not they are subjecting themselves to health complications if they do not limit their daily caffeine intake. This is a rather worrying finding.

You Should Go Easy on Sugar and Cream

Provided you limit your sugar and cream intake, caffeine is not fattening. It is true that the level of calories in a plain cup of brewed caffeine is zero, and you will not find any fat, which is quite a promising statement for the athletes. The worrying fact, however, is that only a small percentage of athletes prefer their beverage black.

You must be careful not to use too much sugar or cream on your caffeine might take away the health benefits you might otherwise enjoy. Sugar has adverse health effects, a fact we can’t emphasize enough. Therefore, even if you add a negligible amount of sugar to your caffeine, you still will be negating the possible health benefits because sugar is a negative ingredient by all means.

How Much Coffee for Athletes is Too Much?

It is impossible to tell exactly how much caffeine is too much since there are too many factors to take into account. But we can have an approximation of the amount of caffeine that should be seen as too much.

For instance, a study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that six eight-ounce cups in a single day might increase the risk of suffering cardiovascular infections by at least 22%. Around 350,000 individuals were examined in the study, so the results are highly reliable.

Also, experts have warned that males and females under the age of 55 who take more than 28 cups of caffeine per week are more closely associated with poor health. Therefore, as an athlete, you already have an idea of how much caffeine you should be taking each day to keep your health and athletic performance in check.

Other Studies

We have already stated above that it is almost impossible to come up with the exact amount of caffeine one should take within a span of 24 hours. Here is the confusing part. A certain study conducted by the British Heart Foundation showed that one could safely take 25 cups of caffeine without having their health compromised. But this study only focused on around 8,000 caffeine users, so it might not be as accurate as the AJCN study.

To keep safe, we suggest you should take a maximum of 25 cups of caffeine each day. According to Federal Dietary Guidelines, one should take between three and eight cups of caffeine in a single day, and this can be part of a healthy diet since, by doing so, you will be getting around 400 milligrams of caffeine.

Is Caffeine Good for You?

Many experts suggest that around four cups of coffee for athletes each day is a safe amount. However, it is important to know whether caffeine is beneficial for you in general.

Though quite a number of studies suggest that caffeine has some health benefits, they do not show proof of such claims. Some scholars report that those who do not take caffeine at all have higher chances of developing cardiovascular infections compared to those who take at least two cups of the same per day. Similar studies also suggest that decaf drinkers have around 7% higher chances of developing heart complications.

The National Institute of Health published a report that those who do not drink caffeine have a 10% lower risk of health complications compared to non-caffeine drinkers. This report was based on a study of around 400,00 individuals aged between 50 and 71 years. Two other studies have also backed the claim, stating that a few cups of caffeine each day equal to a longer life.

From our findings, we can only state that caffeine is good because, as an athlete, it helps you stay focused for some time. This means you should consider taking some caffeine whenever you need to stay focused and highly productive. However, this is a pure suggestion since, based on factors such as age, sex, and other body conditions, you will not have the same experience as someone else.

The Bottom Line

This article should be seen as a guide to a healthy lifestyle. If you are an athlete already using coffee, there is no need to bring your habit to a sudden hiatus. Instead, we recommend you talk to your healthcare provider about a safe amount of caffeine you should ingest each day. Be sure to follow their advice because they will examine quite a number of things about you. Otherwise, you have already seen that taking more than ten cups of caffeine in a single day might not be entirely good for your health.


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