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The #1 Warning Sign You're Drinking Too Much Iced Coffee

We asked dietitians the one thing to look out for when drinking a lot of iced coffee.

Got the coffee jitters? While downing iced coffee throughout the day sounds like a special treat—and a fun way to cool off in the heat—drinking too much iced coffee can leave you feeling jittery. While it may not seem like a big deal, overdoing it on coffee can lead to intense feelings of nervousness and anxiety, which is why we would say the coffee jitters and increased anxiety levels would be the first warning sign that you're drinking too much iced coffee.

"If you are feeling nervous and jittery, it could be a sign that you are overdoing the caffeine," says MyNetDiary's Registered Dietitian and MS, Brenda Braslow.

"Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are known to boost energy levels," says Shannon Henry, RD with EZCare Clinic. "Their excessive use can lead to fatigue, dizziness, headache, and shakiness."

"Caffeine really amps us up, and if we are dealing with any stressful situations, caffeine can make matters worse," says Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian.

Not only does it leave you feeling nervous and jittery, as Braslow and Byrd mentioned, but it can also interrupt a good night's sleep.

"Having problems sleeping at night could be a sign you are getting too much caffeine from the iced coffee," says Braslow. Drinking large amounts of iced coffee could lead to dehydration. Are you urinating more often and finding your urine looks darker, like apple juice? Back off on the caffeine and drink more water."

"Drinking too much caffeine during the day will prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. Even if you feel tired when you go to bed, your body may have trouble settling down because it's still running on caffeine," Byrd. "This will lead to more fatigue, which is the exact opposite of what you want."

So what should you do differently? Is it bad to drink iced coffee at all? Of course not. Coffee is perfectly fine—but in moderation. And it's especially important to eliminate the added sugars in it.

"One to two iced coffees a day is fine, but it depends on what you're adding to it," says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. "If you're adding sugar or simple syrup, try to stick to just one iced coffee daily. If you're sipping on them all day long, that can mean a steady stream of sugar, which isn't great for your teeth or your blood sugar. If you're finding it hard to fall asleep at night, you may be enjoying your iced coffee too late in the day. Make a cut off for caffeine (mine is 2 p.m.) and stick to it for restful sleep."

"While coffee can give you an energy boost along with some antioxidants, it is always important to be mindful of your intake," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. "Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, low blood sugar and irritability for some. If you experience these symptoms, evaluate how much coffee you are drinking and be sure you are consuming a fiber and protein-rich meal or snack with it. The macronutrients in the meal/snack can help stabilize your blood sugar and decrease the extreme effect caffeine can often have on people."

So if you're experiencing those coffee jitters and increased anxiety after downing lots of iced coffee, it may be time to start limiting your intake and getting your energy from energizing healthy foods instead, like these 30 Best Foods That Give You All-Day Energy.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten
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