Despite nearly two decades of conflicting research on how much coffee we can safely consume, people still love their morning cup of joe.

And that would be fine, if our society stopped there. But collectively, we have a tendency to take things to the extreme.

“Bring it!” responded one Los Angeles newscaster to an announcement that “the world’s strongest coffee” will now be available in the U.S. Just one cup of the South African based product, Black Insomnia (now also available on Amazon), has the equivalent of taking three Five Hour Energy shots.

So how much is too much? Is there even a place for such a coffee in a responsible daily diet at all?

A new study published in the journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology claims to have settled the great caffeine debate once and for all.

Researchers combed through and compiled data from 5,000 articles published over a span of 15 years, that examined the effects of caffeine on cardiovascular health and bone health, as well as behavior and development.

They concluded that healthy adults can safely consume 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, or about four 8-ounce cups.

It’s important to keep portion size in mind, however. You can have four cups if they’re the size of the classic diner mugs — not the popular soup bowl or Starbuck’s sized cups. For reference, a “tall” at Starbuck’s is 12-ounces, but most locations do serve an 8-ounce “short” size if you ask.

Staying within those limits in worth it — even for serious coffee drinkers. Levels above that carry an increased risk of depression, dysphoria, anxiety, hypertension and even risk of sperm with DNA damage.

So does that mean 500 milligrams or more will definitely cause you these health problems? (Black Insomnia has 702 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce glass — about three times the “limit”!)

No, of course not. There is quite a bit of individual variety when it comes to maximum and minimum recommendations on most things, but to be safe, exceeding 400 milligrams should be the exception, not the rule.

So rejoice in your newly approved 4 cups of daily coffee and save the hard stuff, like Black Insomnia, for all-nighter emergencies.

(h/t The Atlantic)







Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.