Health Canada Reminds Canadians to Manage Their Caffeine Consumption

Starting date:
June 11, 2013
Posting date:
June 11, 2013
Type of communication:
Information Update
Subcategory:
Other, Affects children, pregnant or breast feeding women
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Issue:
Food Safety
Audience:
General Public
Identification number:
RA-34021

Issue

Health Canada is reminding Canadians about the importance of managing the consumption of caffeine, especially by children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and women who are planning to become pregnant.

While small amounts of caffeine are not a concern for most Canadians, excessive consumption of caffeine can cause insomnia, headaches, irritability and nervousness. For some groups, like pregnant women, health effects can be even more severe and can include lower birth weights.

Health Canada recommends that Canadians limit their caffeine intake to the following:
Healthy Adults No more than 400 mg of caffeine per day - about three 8 oz cups (237 ml) of brewed coffee per day.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women and women who are planning to become pregnant No more than 300 mg of caffeine per day - a little over two 8 oz (237 ml) cups of coffee.

Children are considered to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Recommendations for children and teens are based on their body weights.

Based on average body weights of children, Health Canada recommends:
Children aged four to six No more than 45 mg per day - about one 355ml can of regular cola
Children aged seven to nine No more than 62.5 mg per day - about one and a half 355ml cans of regular cola
Children 10 to 12 No more than 85 mg per day - nearly two 355ml cans of regular cola
Adolescents 13 and older No more than 2.5 mg/kg body weight

Caffeine, in its natural and added forms, can be found in various products, including:

  • cola and some other carbonated soft drinks;
  • coffee and tea;
  • chocolate;
  • energy drinks; and
  • some cold and headache medicines.

You can estimate your daily caffeine intake to see if it falls within Health Canada's recommended guidelines. To do this, keep track of what you and your children consume and refer to Health Canada's Fact Sheet, Caffeine in Food. This fact sheet has a section that lists the amount of caffeine in comparable servings of many products used by Canadians. For caffeinated energy drinks, the total caffeine per serving should be declared on the product label.

What you should do

Carefully read the labels of all health products you consume, including over the counter medications and energy shots, and follow the label instructions.  Remember to include that caffeine content in your calculated daily intake.

You should also talk to your family doctor about possible interactions between caffeine and your prescription medications.

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

For more information

For more information on caffeine consumption, please visit: