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The Brunch Effect: Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption 

The Brunch Effect: Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption 

94% of Americans consume some form of caffeine and 63% of Americans say they consume alcohol regularly. Caffeine and alcohol are two of the most consumed “drugs" on the legalized market, so how do they affect your body separately and when consumed together? 

Let’s start with caffeine. According to the FDA, the safe limit of caffeine consumption per day is around 400 mg. For reference, this is about 4-5 cups of coffee. One espresso shot has typically 64 mg of caffeine, black tea has 47 mg, and energy drinks can range from 200mg and up. It is important to check the caffeine level of your favorite beverages, as some brands have different levels in their drinks and you may be reaching for one that is very high in caffeine without realizing. 

Why should you moderate your caffeine consumption? 

  • Caffeine’s side effects. If over consumed, caffeine can cause shakiness, headaches, insomnia, fast heartbeat, dehydration, and anxiety, especially in those who are new to caffeine or are prone to having an adverse reaction to caffeine’s effects. It is very important to talk to your doctor to see if caffeine is safe for you to consume in combination with any meds or health conditions you already have. 

  • Potential dehydration. If you are already consuming coffee, dehydration is not as much of a worry as your body builds up a tolerance. If you do not regularly consume coffee, then dehydration is something to be on the lookout for. 

  • Hunger and fullness cues. It is possible that consuming an energy drink or having a cup of coffee will make you feel less hungry. In reality, caffeine is just masking that hunger signal so by the time you realize you are hungry, you are also crashing from the caffeine and next thing you know you are searching for the nearest burger joint to get some quick calories. That is why it is always a good idea to have a balanced snack with your coffee like mixed nuts, a protein bar, peanut butter toast, really anything that will provide you calories and nutrients. 

Remember: caffeine is not something to fear if consumed in appropriate amounts and approved by your doctor. 

Now, on to alcohol. Alcohol is a large part of our society. Sometimes, it’s even mixed with caffeine in drinks like espresso martinis. Alcohol is a depressant, can cause dehydration, and overconsumption may even lead to long term chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. What happens when we mix caffeine and alcohol? Brunch outings consist of a cup of coffee to wake up, sometimes followed by mimosas. While these drinks are yummy and brunch dates are fun, what are they doing to our bodies?

When you consume alcohol and caffeine together, the caffeine hides the depressant effect of alcohol, leaving people feeling on top of the world, energized and happy. This usually leads to even more alcohol consumption and can result in dehydration and sometimes a hangover the next morning. Alcohol and caffeine on their own can make anxiety and depression worse, but when consumed together the day after drinking can be a difficult day to get through. If you suffer from anxiety and or depression, the day after drinking can leave you feeling anxious, regretful, sad, lonely, and depressed. To avoid these feelings make sure you eat and hydrate properly before drinking. Drinks like tequila and club soda with lime is a great option because you are still sneaking in a little bit of hydration with your alcoholic drink. Remember: daily alcohol consumption can lead to addiction and constant anxiety. If you decide to drink daily, it is recommended to drink no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. 

While caffeine and alcohol have no nutritional benefits, they are a part of our world and are still safe to consume. You have the choice of how much to consume, if any. Remember to enjoy in moderation and only consume what you feel comfortable with. 

Further Learning

For more insights into nutrition and healthy living, tune into my podcast RDs vs BS, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stay tuned for more tips in the coming months!

I’m currently offering a free nutrition intro session to all new clients. If you’re interested in improving your nutrition in a way that lasts, sign up for a session through my website.

Instagram: @emily_rd_

Stay tuned for more tips.

In the world of nutrition, it can often seem like there's a lot to figure out. It seems like everyone is trying to sell a specific diet or plan, but the truth is that everyone’s nutrition needs are unique. Know that you don't have to go on your nutrition journey alone. Check out to sign up for a free nutrition intro session where we can talk about creating a nutrition plan that works best for you.

written by: Gabby Romero

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