By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s be honest about it, we all love a good scary story, especially when it involves our health. Trust me, you wouldn’t see so many of those stories in the media if the audience didn’t want them.

So naturally I was immediately drawn to the headlines Tuesday about the risks of excessive caffeine consumption, spurred by the sad story of a South Carolina teenager who passed away from taking in too much caffeine.

This topic hits close to home here in a region rated the 10th most-caffeinated in the nation by at least one survey. We are a community of coffee achievers, hard-working people who deal with early wake ups, long, cold days, and late nights on the job the best we know how. i.e. with coffee, lots of it, whipped up in every conceivable form.

So I began to read the USA Today write-up on our over-caffeination crisis with great reluctance.

What if I learned that my own coffee consumption habits were unhealthy, what then? Could I really function on less than I now ingest? Would my friends behind the counter at my local coffee shop miss seeing me as much? Would they even notice?

But I summoned my courage and read the story.

It turns out that poor kid in South Carolina put away a large sugary tonic, a café latte and an energy drink within two hours, prompting a cardiac event.

Four cups of coffee a day is considered the upper end of the safe range for adults, and you’d have to force down around 50 cups to do major harm to yourself.

What a relief! I can handle those limits, easily. But if you can’t, by all means, be alarmed. Glad we could be there to warn you.

Share your thoughts with me via email at, or you can reach out on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.


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