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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Caffeine in the Diet
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Caffeine in the Diet

Alternate Names : Trimethylxanthine

Overview & Description | Functions and Sources

Caffeine is known in chemical terms as trimethylxanthine. It acts as a stimulant on the brain.


Too much caffeine in the diet may cause the following symptoms:

  • anxiety
  • diarrhea
  • irritability
  • sleep disorders
  • Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches. Someone who wants to stop drinking caffeine should start by mixing regular coffee with a decaffeinated version. It's helpful to gradually reduce the amount of caffeine ingested each day.

    Caffeine is one of the most thoroughly studied food constituents. Here are some recent research findings.

  • Caffeine may cause miscarriage or may decrease the growth of a developing fetus if a pregnant woman has more than 300 mg a day. This amount is equal to 3 cups of coffee. Pregnant women should consume less than 300 mg of caffeine per day.
  • High caffeine intake was associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fracture in postmenopausal women.
  • Men diagnosed with high blood pressure had even higher blood pressure readings after drinking caffeine.
  • Caffeine intake was not associated with an increased risk for coronary artery disease.
  • While more research is needed, there are clear reasons for limiting caffeine in some situations. Individuals should discuss their risk factors and caffeine intake with the healthcare provider.


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    Caffeine in the Diet: Functions and Sources

    Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD
    Reviewer: Iris Hill, RD, MA
    Date Reviewed: 05/08/01

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