Coffee is more than just a beverage made from a humble bean. It’s somewhat of a global phenomenon and is also something that can absolutely be part of a healthy lifestyle. But coffee—iced or hot, ice blended or not, unfortunately also has a dark side that isn’t often discussed.
When served cold, your daily coffee can be a little too easy to consume, and many seasoned drinkers throw it back like water on a summer’s day.
But as much as the energizing boost from coffee can assist you throughout your day, helping you survive the midday slump, it can also have some pretty undesirable side effects when indulged in excess.
Before we dive into the adverse effects of drinking too much iced coffee or cold brew, understand that when in moderation, caffeinated iced coffee has a myriad of benefits that may actually surprise you.
One of these benefits is the fact that coffee is rich in antioxidants. The primary two being hydrocinnamic acid and polyphenols. Antioxidants are highly beneficial, as they protect your body from many diseases, including cancer.
Additionally, some researchers suggest consuming iced coffee daily can lower your risk of type two diabetes. Besides these benefits, the number one reason anyone picks up a tall glass of iced coffee in the first place is to take advantage of its dependable energizing effect and the mental focus that accompanies it.
However—students, athletes, business professionals, and anyone needing extra help staying sharp, energized, and focused throughout the day will rely on this daily boost without knowing the potential harm it is doing to their bodies. You’ll know you’ve crossed the line when you begin to notice one or many of these unsavory side effects:
- Feeling Jittery
- Increased Heart Rate
- Stained Teeth
- Upset Stomach
How much is too much?
It’s hard to know when you’ve had too much. Drink even one too many glasses of iced coffee, and these unfortunate side effects soon outweigh the awesome benefits. So, finding that “sweet spot” between getting the most out of your iced coffee and avoiding feeling sick or anxious from drinking too much is crucial to consistently functioning at your full potential at all times of the day.
Are you big on sugar and cream? If you are, and you enjoy sipping on multiple sweet and creamy iced coffees, then you might have more than just a caffeine problem. Drinking sugar throughout the day can easily lead to weight problems, issues with your blood sugar, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Perhaps you only drink one or two cups of iced coffee daily, but you are suspicious it is making you feel off. If this sounds like you, check your prescriptions and supplements, for caffeine has been known to interact negatively with Ephedrine, Theophylline, and Echinacea.
So—how much is too much? That depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine, what medications and supplements you are taking, and how many cups you drink throughout the day. Listen to your body; it will tell you.
The maximum recommended amount of caffeine is around 400 mg, roughly equal to 2-4 cups of iced coffee or cold brew, depending on how strong your particular brew and roast are. Overdoing it with caffeine from your iced coffee can seriously interfere with your sleep cycle.
So, many people drink coffee to stay awake and alert throughout the day, but they don’t realize that high amounts of caffeine can disrupt and interfere with their sleep at night. They wake up the next day feeling fatigued, and the cycle continues. If you know in your heart that you are taking in more than 400 mg per day, don’t panic.
Cut back slowly. It took you a long time to get this addicted, and it will take some time to undo the habit. Consider drinking a half-caff or swapping one of your regular iced coffees for a decaf on occasion.
If you start tracking your daily caffeine and iced coffee intake, stay on the lookout for caffeine in unexpected places, such as in Excedrin, the popular over-the-counter migraine medication.
As energizing and refreshing as iced coffee can be, it’s crucial that you employ self-control, regardless of how groggy you feel on a Monday morning.
If you are able to not overindulge, then your daily iced coffee habit can only enhance your life, but once you’ve exceeded 400mg of caffeine or your discovered personal limit, drinking another cup will only wreak havoc on your sleep schedule–ultimately setting you up for failure tomorrow. Listen to your body and drink your iced coffee responsibly.