How Much is Diet Soda Costing You? Caffeine and Baby-Making
Even if you did get it on sale, that caffeinated drink might be costing you more than you bargained for. Research indicates that caffeine use of more than a cup or two of coffee or soda a day might delay your odds of conceiving. If you're undergoing IVF, the news is worse - some research indicates that as little as 50 mg (the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea) might hurt your chances of success.
Does it Really Matter?
Several large research studies proved that women who consumed more than the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant, per cycle, as women who drank less. The more a woman drank, the lower her chances for becoming pregnant. Other research shows that women aren't alone in needing to give up the cup of Joe in the mornings. Men who regularly consume caffeine have a more difficult time producing a pregnancy.
“We don't know if giving up caffeine will make a significant different in improving your chances of conceiving, but we do know that giving up caffeine isn't going to hurt you,” explains Dr. Tarun Jain of Chicago IVF. “If you've been trying to get pregnant for several months without success, and you've already given up alcohol and smoking, you may want to try limiting your total intake of caffeine from coffee, soda, chocolate and other sources. Plus, n ow is the perfect time to kick the habit because once you get pregnant, moderate to heavy caffeine use is associated with miscarriage as well.”
What's Your Caffeine Intake?
Caffeine-free soda and coffee often have small amount of caffeine? It isn't just soda and coffee that have caffeine, either. Chocolate, coffee-flavored yogurt or ice cream, even hot cocoa and some non-prescription medications are all sources of caffeine. Plus you may not know exactly how much caffeine you're getting. For coffee and tea, the brand, how it is prepared, the type of beans or leaves used, and the style of serving (espresso, latte and others) affect the amount of caffeine. Read labels on food, drinks and medicine to know how much caffeine you're getting.
How much is ok?
The March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consume no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day. This is the amount of caffeine in about one 12-ounce cup of coffee. Refer to the chart for a list of foods and drinks and the amount of caffeine they contain. The amounts listed are averages, so they may change depending on brand or how the food or drink is made.
|Foods and Beverages
|Milligrams of caffeine (avg)
|Coffee (8 oz)
|Tea (8 oz)
|Caffeinated soft drinks, such as cola (12 oz)
|Hot cocoa (12 oz)
|Chocolate milk (8 oz)
|Dark chocolate (1.45 oz bar)
|Milk chocolate (1.55 oz bar)
|Semi-sweet chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
|Chocolate syrup (1 tbsp)
|Coffee ice cream/frozen yogurt (1/2 cup)
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2000
Natural Energy Boosters
Quitting cold turkey isn't fun, so if you're ready to hang up your habit, you're better off slowly cutting down. Abruptly cutting caffeine out can lead to headaches, irritability and sleep problems. If you are weaning yourself from caffeine, but find your energy levels are dragging, here are some tips to get you pumped up:
- Move! Just 10-15 minutes of activity can rev your engine.
- Breathe deeply
- Stretch gently to re-energize
- Snack right - that means no Diet Coke with a candy bar. Besides the caffeine, the sugar rush will leave you comatose in half an hour. Instead, try a protein and veggie combo like a cheese stick and carrots, or a Greek salad with olives.