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How to break the caffeine addiction
October 19, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, coffee, tea — you name it and you probably have a go-to drink. And that caffeine may give you a boost of energy, but it can also cause some health problems.

Whether you're an occasional soda drinker or can't seem to live a day without it, caffeine affects everyone differently.

"I could be very sensitive to caffeine whereas someone else may not be as sensitive to caffeine, and so they would be able to have a little bit more than I can, so it's really important to know your own balance," said Claire Siekaniec, Intermountain sports dietitian for The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends not more than 400 milligrams a day of caffeine. That's about three to four cups of coffee. For a 12 ounce can of soda, that could be six to 10, or about two energy drinks.

Most drinks list the caffeine content on the label. If you're drinking more than the recommended safe amount, you may start to see a dependence or other side effects.

"You could also get into a cycle of sleep deprivation, where you don't get enough sleep because you've had caffeine in the day previous, and then when you wake up in the morning, you're tired, " Siekaniec said.

So you go for that caffeine again, day after day, eventually losing quality sleep.

You may also experience headaches, jitters, restlessness, nervousness and an increased heartbeat. To break that cycle, Siekaniec says to slowly cut your intake.

"It may take anywhere between two to nine days to completely get rid of those symptoms," she said.

And then replace those drinks with something more healthy, like caffeine-free soda, milk or water.