Consider the amount of caffeine in Coke vs. coffee — which has more? Coffee has significantly more caffeine than Coca-Cola, but research shows that coffee contains several health benefits as well.
Caffeine in Coke vs. Coffee
Maybe you're among the millions of people who start the day with a cup of joe, or do you prefer a cool can of Coca-Cola for a midday boost? Either way, you're getting a dose of caffeine, a stimulant, which, according to MedlinePlus, is bitter and can occur naturally — such as in coffee beans — or can be man-made.
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Both contain caffeine, yet the amount differs considerably. According to MedlinePlus, while an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 35 to 45 milligrams of caffeine. In other words, coffee contains three to four times more caffeine than Coca-Cola.
According to the Coca-Cola product website, Diet Coke contains more caffeine than regular Coke, at 46 milligrams per 12-ounce can. To compare: An 8-ounce energy drink generally contains about 70 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. As for caffeine in coffee vs. tea: an 8-ounce cup of tea generally contains 14 to 60 milligrams, says MedlinePlus.
Read more: Long-Term Effects of Caffeine
Effects of Too Much Caffeine
If you're a regular caffeine consumer, keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much caffeine. How much is too much? According to Mayo Clinic, you should limit your caffeine intake to 400 milligrams a day. That could be a few cups of coffee, eight to 10 cans of Coke or about two energy shots.
Moreover, Mayo Clinic warns that children, people who take certain medications or people who are sensitive to its effects, should avoid caffeine. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their doctor about limiting their caffeine consumption.
Mayo Clinic also points out that too much caffeine can induce side effects, such as insomnia, migraine headache, muscle tremors, frequent urination, irritability and restlessness, upset stomach and more. Those who don't drink caffeine regularly may be more susceptible to its effects.
A May 2017 review in Frontiers in Psychiatry confirms the negative effects of caffeine when taken in a high dose, especially in certain populations, such as children, pregnant people and individuals with mental illness. Certain trends, such as alcohol-mixed energy drinks may also heighten the risk of harm.
Coffee vs. Soda
When it comes to caffeine in coffee vs. soda, the difference is apparent. But what about their differences beyond caffeine content? Unlike soda, which contains hardly any benefits, coffee touts a few advantages. In a November 2015 study in Circulation, it was found that coffee was associated with lower risk of mortality.
And according to Harvard Health Publishing, other research has found coffee drinkers may have reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis, gout and cardiovascular disease. That said, there's also been research linking coffee and certain health issues, such as certain types of cancers, though most of that research is outdated or pertains to very high doses of coffee.
Sodas, such as Coca-Cola, on the other hand, lack health benefits. According to Harvard School of Public Health, sugary drinks are full of calories and generally don't contain any nutrients. On average, a can of soda contains about 150 calories, mostly from added sugar. Regularly consuming Coke, could not only lead to weight gain, but also to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, as well as other chronic diseases.
- Frontiers in Psychiatry: "The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review"
- MedlinePlus: "Caffeine"
- Mayo Clinic: "Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Last Scoop on the Health Benefits of Coffee"
- Circulation: "Association of Coffee Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in 3 Large Prospective Cohorts"
- Harvard School of Public Health: "Sugary Drinks"
- Coca-Cola: "How Much Caffeine Is in Coke? How Much Caffeine Is in Diet Coke?"