If waking up in the morning requires not only an alarm, but also several cups of hot coffee, beware. While coffee has many proven health benefits and can even help prevent type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and some forms of cancer, too much of a good thing could be detrimental. And that good thing is caffeine. The problem is that caffeine is not only in coffee, but also in chocolate, some types of bottled water, iced tea, sodas and even some flavors of ice cream. How much is too much? It depends on your body. According to Prevention magazine, here are five signs you may want to cut back:
1. You hit the 3pm slump.
It you must have a Diet Coke to stay awake and energized until the end of the work day, you may be addicted to caffeine. "There is about as much caffeine in one can of Diet Coke as there is in a shot of espresso," Dr. David J. Clayton, author of "The Healthy Guide to Unhealthy Living," told Prevention. "Having a few cans a day could leave you feeling high and then low when you come down from the caffeine buzz." Advice: Limit yourself to just one soda a day.
2. Your urine is orange.
A telltale sign of dehydration is dark yellow or orange urine. Coffee is a diuretic that can cause you to urinate so much and lose such a high amount of body fluids that it leads to dehydration. Advice: It takes about 500 mg of caffeine to induce dehydration, so don't drink more than two or three cups of coffee a day.
3. You're wide awake at night.
It takes about an hour for the body to fully absorb the caffeine in that cup of coffee, but it lingers in your body for hours--so long that it can actually affect your sleep cycle. Advice: If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night, significantly reduce or eliminate caffeine after noon.
4. You feel anxious.
You know that shaky feeling. Your palms sweat, and your heart races. You feel restless. And jittery. These are all signs you have ODed on caffeine, which can actually exacerbate stress and depression. Advice: Cut back on how much caffeine you're consuming. Do look for the "sneaky" sources of caffeine in your diet, such as chocolate and soda.
5. You have heartburn.
When the muscle at the end of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, allows food and stomach acid to come back up, it causes a burning feeling under your chest, explains Prevention. This is known as acid reflux. While there are other causes, caffeine might be the culprit. Advice: Try eliminating all caffeine. If it soothes your throat and eliminates the acid reflux, caffeine was the cause.