400 Mg a Day, Every Day: Is it Me Or the Caffeine?

Story By: Kris Hall, Online Editor

It’s a Friday night, I’ve had a long month of long weeks. I’ve been going at it for so long. Classes are going well, I’ve been promoted at work and am on track for another in the coming two weeks, I have a position on the editorial board to debut my pursuit of my career as a journalist.

So here I am and it is par-tay-time. To my left, recreational marijuana. To my right, a variety of interesting hard liquor I’ve never tried before. I decide I will indulge in a shot, but in a shot of espresso.

My endeavors in caffeine started in an 8 a.m. summer class. The class started much too early for an irresponsible sleeper such as myself to restrain myself from a mid-class nap. So in week two of the class I decided that during the break I would get a healthy breakfast of a cookie and wash it down with a Monster energy drink.

I was uneducated on the concept of caffeine, so I dug in a little. Initial research brought me to the FDA’s take on caffeine. All I took in was that on average, a human can take in about 400 mg of caffeine a day. The FDA alluded to the fact that some are more sensitive or less sensitive, and that the amount would vary accordingly.

So I kept myself strictly under 400 mg a day. One monster has two servings in their larger-than-usual can of 80 mg each, or 160 mg a can. To me, that meant I could have two max a day if necessary.

My necessary daily breakfast of a cookie and a Monster trickled into work. It became necessary for school, as well as necessary for starting a shift at work. Then I joined an internship and it broadened my caffeine necessity to work, school, and my new volunteer position. That’s three a day now.

So Monsters weren’t cutting it any more.

Hello Bang energy! When Bang came out to the Fresno market at 300 mg a can, it got me going for the whole day from the start. My new routine was caffeinate, school, internship, work, sleep. And whenever I needed to cut into one category, my irresponsible brain decided that sleep was the first to go.

After almost two months of this, now in fall semester 2018, I was plagued by a new phenomenon; in the middle of the school day I would again drift off to a mid-class nap. I was experiencing for the first time in my life the mid day crash was a daily struggle.

I did some more research: starting with my Bio 3 teacher, Hawkins Dowis. He recommended eating starchy foods, like oatmeal and potatoes, alongside caffeine. He told me that in one of the lectures I slept through, the class learned that the human body breaks down starches and heavy foods like rice, oatmeal and potatoes for instance, slowly.

So as our caffeine high starts crashing, our body is already breaking down energy slowly from those starches, which helps catch you from the fall.

I reassess, starting with a new diet. Now instead of a measly cookie, I focused on cooking potatoes. And by cooking potatoes, I mean Denny’s breakfast hash browns every morning alongside my morning latte.

It was going okay for awhile until I got a new job at this place called Starbucks. Working at a coffee shop made it almost impossible for me to measure my caffeine intake.

Today, the decision to drink caffeine depends on my duties for the day. I need to write a paper, then I’m going to start the process by a quick stop at a coffee shop. If I have a big test then my desk will have a copy of the test, a Scantron, a #2 pencil, and a thermos of coffee.

With and without the aid of a stimulant, I have accomplished so much. I can confirm that I will be having a fabulous time at my next party if there is a latte in my hand.


This article contains information from the FDA: ‘Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?’

And also from Caffeineinformer.com, who has a thorough review of over 700 caffeinated items on and off the market. Check out their article ‘Caffeine Content of Drinks’ on their website for some useful information on what you may be putting in your body.

Caffeine contributed to this article.