Get your motor running
When the cold sets in, Torontonians are frantic to get their caffeine fix. The arrival of winter always means more traffic in Richard Chan’s coffee shop. Chan, manager of the York Mills Centre Second Cup, is serving more...
Alexandra Martineau photo
When the cold sets in, Torontonians are frantic to get their caffeine fix.
The arrival of winter always means more traffic in Richard Chan’s coffee shop. Chan, manager of the York Mills Centre Second Cup, is serving more caffeinated drinks now than any other time during the year.
Canadians most commonly turn to tea and coffee as their primary sources of caffeine, says registered dietitian Zannat Reza, which is a stimulant derived from natural sources.
"Caffeine is a natural compound. It’s a natural ingredient found in the leaves of many plants like the coffee plant," she says. "Canadian adults get about 60 per cent of their caffeine from coffee and 30 per cent of caffeine from tea. The other 10 per cent comes from cola beverages, chocolate," she says.
Caffeine is even added to some medications, says registered dietitian Rosie Schwartz. The natural stimulant can be found in different painkillers. Midol lists caffeine as one of the ingredients in its Menstrual Complete Gelcaps, for example.
Health Canada suggests that adults have no more than 400 to 450 mg of caffeine a day, while pregnant women are recommended to take no more than 300 mg, Reza says.
Although it would take five cups of coffee to reach that intake stat, Reza recommends limiting your consumption to three cups per day, "a cup being 250 ml. So that’s the size of your fist," she says.
But these are recommendations only. Not everyone responds to caffeine the same way, Schwartz says.
"Research shows that even with one cup a day, when you don’t have that cup, it’s possible that you could have withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and irritability," she says.
But your buzz has an upside: "It can help you with your concentration, help you stay alert," Reza says.
Reza has tips for people looking to cut back on their coffee. Having lattés instead of a regular coffee is one of these.