Coffee safety warning: Drink no more than four coffees daily, two if you are pregnant
The risk is particularly high for pregnant women – who should have a maximum of two cups a day – and young people. In its first guidelines on caffeine consumption, the European Union’s (EU’s) food safety watchdog has advised a daily limit of 400mg.
The average mug of instant coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine.
The European Food Safety Agency warned those who break the limits run the risk of a host of health problems, from anxiety and sleeplessness to heart rhythm disturbances and heart failure. Its comprehensive review of literature on the subject also showed links between high caffeine intake in pregnancy and having a baby that is underweight.
The British National Health Service (NHS) warns that too much caffeine can cause a miscarriage. There are also links to birth defects. With the average espresso containing 80mg, the 400mg limit for adults equates to five espressos.
However, some large coffees from High Street chains contain several shots of espresso – meaning someone could breach the daily limit after just a couple of cups. And a large, filter coffee from Starbucks, contains 400mg in a single cup.
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