June 7, 2004

Coffee Question

At what point is coffee or caffeine fatal? I'd just like to know before I accidentally ingest too much. Granted, at this point in the morning it may very well be too late.

Posted by Chris at June 7, 2004 9:40 AM

I always thought a fire would be the worst death. But now I think death by caffeine would be worse by far. Imagine! Runing around like a lunatic, jittering all over the place, talking non stop and then suddenly _KABLAM!!

Posted by: Another Pam at June 7, 2004 9:45 AM

Oh God. Could there be a fatal consumption point? I've never considered that...eek.

Posted by: Zoot at June 7, 2004 10:07 AM

Chris, I believe you may need intervention... shall I accompany you to CDA (coffee drinkers annonymous). "Hello I'm Ro (crowd: Hiiiii Rooooo) and [*sigh*] I'm a coffee drinker."

Posted by: Ro at June 7, 2004 11:07 AM

I can't tell you how much is too much when it comes to coffee, because I don't drink it since my mom says it will make me tweak and go crazy, but she always drinks a pot alone almost every hour. I think my dad drinks alot too because he always tweaks, but my mom says he tweaks because he has short mans syndrome.

Posted by: Rockchild at June 7, 2004 1:14 PM

Dude! I just had a site for this the other day. Crap. Can't find it. Anyway, you'd have to drink something like 125 cokes in one sitting for it to kill you (caffeine-wise).

Posted by: Anne at June 7, 2004 1:32 PM

"Overdosing" on caffeine, according to the chemists and other experts, is a dosage of about 350 milligrams. This isn't the fatal overdose, but it's still unpleasant and should be avoided due to adverse chemical reactions in the brain and potential hazards. The symptoms include: nausea, muscle twitches, periods of extreme restlessness and breatheing difficulties. This isn't fatal, but still dangerous and highly unpleasant.

The lethal dosage of caffeine is estimated at around ten grams. To put that into perspective, Coca-Cola has 45.6 milligrams per can, compared to Pepsi's 37.2, Dr. Pepper's 39.6, Mountain Dew's 55.0, Jolt's 71.2, and Afri-Cola's 100.

Why is there even caffeine in soda? It's purely psychological - when cola's first appeared on the market, they contained cocaine, for no other reason than to get the public addicted to the product, guaranteeing repeat customers. The cocaine had no taste, did not affect the end product, apart from turning it green. When cocaine was outlawed, the cola industry panicked - how would they keep up that same level of addiction? They turned to caffeine, a less dangerous but comparably addictive chemical. Just like cocaine, caffeine guaranteed repeat customers without affecting the taste. And better yet, it didn't turn the drink into a disgusting shade of green.

Additionally, any taste difference you may sense between the caffeinated and decaffeinated versions is - in most cases - purely psychological. However, some soft drink makers purposefully change the taste to lead people to believe the caffeinated version is better, even though the caffeine has nothing to do with the taste whatsoever. Sneaky, isn't it?

And finally, caffeine isn't really an "upper", technically speaking. It's classified as a "downer" due to its ultimate effects on the brain. You may feel a momentary upsurge in energy, but ultimately it will slow down the nervous system, much like a narcotic. In the end, you will feel even more sluggish for having taken the caffeine, you just won't notice it because psychologically we've been trained to believe that caffeine wakes us up. It's all thanks to the brilliant manipulative minds at Coca-Cola, who started the trend.

Posted by: Heather at June 7, 2004 2:01 PM

Ah, thought I should add, a coffee cup can contain anywhere from 50 to 200mgs. The lethal dose is much smaller if you weigh less than average. Also, the lethal dose for children is much lower.

Posted by: Heather at June 7, 2004 2:03 PM

According to Heather's estimates - you'll die of a bladder exploding long before the caffeine kicks in. I don't think that's really a way that you want to "go".

Posted by: Lee at June 7, 2004 2:21 PM

umm.. well, I don't know, just be sure to have a GOOD coffee than ;)) Nothing worse than getting killed by crappy office coffee.

Posted by: Sweety at June 7, 2004 3:42 PM

Amen! Sweety.

Posted by: Another Pam at June 7, 2004 4:34 PM

I consider the first sign of caffeine poisoning to be raging paranoia and tremor. However since I occasionally experience these symptoms without caffeine ingestions, maybe that's not the most reliable indicator.

Kidding, kidding! I never skip my periodic ingestions of caffeine. Therefore the second sentence above does not apply.

*looks furtively around*

psssssst--bad coffee is of the devil!

Posted by: jilbur at June 7, 2004 5:18 PM

Yeah. When I start to look and act like I might be strung out on coke, I stop.

Posted by: Kymmie at June 8, 2004 11:07 AM

Coffee... fatal??? Noooooooooo :P We have, I kid you not, about 30 different types of coffee beans. Not that weird flavored crap... but real coffee.... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Posted by: Rachel in Alaska at June 8, 2004 2:29 PM