Food Safety Authority issue warning about excessive caffeine intake
Consuming more than five espressos worth of caffeine a day could be damaging to your health, according to European food safety experts.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said single doses of up to 200mg of caffeine from a range of sources - such as tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks - should be a safe level for most healthy adults.
This is about 3mg per kilogram of body weight from different sources of food and drink, according to an EFSA panel which took a scientific look at the safety of caffeine on the request of the European Commission.
A 60ml espresso provides around 80mg of caffeine while a 200ml cup of filter coffee has around 90mg, according to the EFSA. There is around 80mg of caffeine in a 250ml standard can of "energy drink", 40mg in a 355ml can of cola, 25mg in a 50g bar of plain chocolate and 10mg in a 50g bar of milk chocolate.
The EFSA said that up to 400mg a day from various food and drink should have no health consequences for healthy adults.
Around a third of people in Denmark, 17% in the Netherlands and 14% in Germany consume more than 400mg, it was claimed.
Up to 200mg a day should be a safe limit for pregnant women and new mothers who are breastfeeding.
Safe limits for children and young adolescents should also be lower than that of adults, the EFSA suggested.
Adults who take too much caffeine can suffer anxiety and problems sleeping while children, who may show the same symptoms, might also show a difference in behaviour.
The EFSA study noted: "Chocolate beverages were important contributors to total caffeine intakes in children and toddlers in most countries, and the use of a conservative caffeine value for this food category may have led to an overestimation of caffeine intakes in these age groups."
The panel used the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database to try and see the effects of caffeine consumed within a day. This contains data from 39 surveys in 22 European countries for 66,531 participants.