Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can help you wake up in the morning or give you a burst of energy in the afternoon. For most people, a moderate amount of caffeine, which is equal to about 250 milligrams -- or around 2 cups -- a day, is perfectly safe, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. For others, caffeine can cause trouble sleeping, irritability, restlessness, increased heart rate and anxiety.
Soft Drinks and Overall Health
Just because a soft drink is caffeine-free doesn't mean it's healthy. Most soft drinks contain a large amount of added sugar, and drinking too much sugar can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Carrying around excess pounds can increase your chances of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Clear or Almost Clear Sodas
Most clear sodas, such as lemon-lime soft drinks, don't contain caffeine. This includes sodas that are almost clear, but it doesn't apply to all of them. A 12-ounce serving of the average citrus soda contains 54 milligrams of caffeine, and the same amount of red grapefruit soda contains 39 milligrams. Most but not all ginger ales are caffeine-free, so check ingredient labels before choosing one brand over another.
Root Beer and Cream Soda
Some but not all brands of root beer are caffeine-free. Reading labels is essential if root beer is your soda of choice. Most cream sodas, a close cousin of root beer, contain about 39 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving. Certain brands of red cream soda, on the other hand, are caffeine-free.
Some grape and orange sodas don't contain caffeine, but other brands of orange soda can contain 41 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving. The average fizzy lemonade also contains 41 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce serving. Wild cherry cola-type sodas contain about 38 milligrams of caffeine per serving.
Traditional cola soft drinks contain caffeine. The amount varies between brands but is usually between 34 and 38 milligrams per 12-ounce serving. These brands offer caffeine-free versions of their original colas, which are an alternative that have a taste similar to the original versions.
Teas and Juices
The amount of caffeine varies from brand to brand in noncarbonated soft drinks, so reading labels is essential when choosing a drink. Looking for ones that state on the label that they're decaffeinated is one way to find an option that's caffeine-free. Teas that aren't decaffeinated can have amounts between 11 and about 40 milligrams per serving. The same goes for juice. Look for 100 percent fruit juice, which is naturally caffeine-free, and skip any juice with "energy" in the title. Energy juice drinks can contain 200 or more milligrams of caffeine per serving.