What is the average caffeine consumption in the US and how does it compare globally?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, CPE, MHCM, FAAPL  more...
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Average caffeine consumption from all sources is approximately 76 mg/person/day but reaches 210-238 mg/person/day in the United States and Canada and exceeds 400 mg/person/day in Sweden and Finland, where 80-100% of the caffeine intake is from coffee alone. In the United Kingdom, the consumption of caffeine is similar to that in Sweden and Finland, but 72% is from tea.

In the United States, the daily intake of caffeine from all sources is estimated to be 3 mg/kg/person, with two thirds of it coming from coffee consumed by subjects older than 10 years. If only caffeine consumers are evaluated, the daily caffeine consumption is 2.4-4.0 mg/kg (170-300 mg) in individuals weighing 60-70 kg. In children, soft drinks represent 55% of the total caffeine intake, chocolate foods and beverages represent 35-40%, and tea represents 6-10%.

Because caffeine is contained in some of the most widely consumed foods and beverages, both in the United States and internationally, it has been extensively investigated in both animal models and human studies. Although caffeine shares some characteristics with other chemicals of abuse with regard to both psychological and physiologic dependence, important differences exist, especially pertaining to the action of caffeine in central nervous system (CNS) neurotransmitter systems.

Clearly, further studies are required to better define the short- and long-term roles of caffeine in the neurologic and cardiovascular systems. The combined results of these future studies will be of keen interest to all those who enjoy a warm cup (or multiple cups) of coffee to start the morning.

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