About 62% of American adults drink coffee every day, according to a 2020 survey by the American Coffee Association. But if you don’t love the taste of java—or you’re looking for a speedy alternative on busy mornings—there’s a trendy new way to get your morning boost of caffeine.
We’re talking about caffeine gummies, the candy-like supplements promising to boost morning energy in a big way.
Caffeine gummy bears might sound like a match made in heaven if you’re looking for a portable form of caffeine you don’t have to drink. But just how safe and effective is a caffeine gummy? We asked the experts to weigh in.
What are caffeine gummies?
Caffeine gummies are just what they sound like—candy-like chews infused with caffeine, a plant-based stimulant.
“Generally, caffeine gummies may contain anywhere from 40 to 200 milligrams of caffeine per gummy,” says Shelby Harris, PsyD, sleep medicine specialist and director of sleep health at Sleepopolis. That means a single caffeine gummy bear could offer an energy boost equal to anywhere from half a cup to two cups of coffee.
Of course, a caffeine gummy contains more than caffeine. Most are flavored. Some include coffee concentrate, while others are fruit-flavored and infused with a hefty dose of caffeine. Some caffeine gummies also contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. The exact ingredients depend on the brand.
How do caffeine gummies work?
Like coffee, caffeine gummies contain caffeine that stimulates your nervous system to make you feel more awake.
“The energizing effects of a caffeine gummy should be similar to an equivalent cup of coffee,” says Kimberley Wiemann, RD, a dietitian based in Long Island, New York. But she says other gummy ingredients, such as sugar, can also impact energy levels. Your energy jolt might vary depending on the brand or flavor you choose.
The amount of time it takes to absorb and experience the effects of caffeine varies from person to person. But you can expect a gummy to energize you faster than a cup of coffee. Wiemann says that’s because you consume a gummy’s caffeine all at once rather than sipping it over a longer time.
Are caffeine gummies safe?
“When consumed in a recommended dosage, caffeine gummies should be safe for most people,” says Wiemann.
It’s safest to stay under 400 milligrams of caffeine per day—the equivalent of three to four cups of coffee, according to Caroline Thomason, RD, a northern Virginia-based dietitian. Tracking your caffeine consumption can help you stay in the safe zone.
Thomason adds that even if you stick to the recommended dosage, caffeine from a gummy might not be as healthy as drinking coffee. “Coffee contains hundreds of compounds like antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids that work together to offer a health benefit,” she says. “Researchers have not found the same health benefits when studying caffeine supplementation alone.”
How to use caffeine gummies effectively
So how can you use caffeine gummies to help you get energized in the morning? Experts give some tips on how to use them safely and effectively:
- Start small. For example, swap one cup of coffee for a gummy or two rather than adding gummies to your current coffee habit. “Caffeine consumption often works like a bell-shaped curve,” says Thomason. “At some point, adding more doesn’t necessarily have more benefits.”
- Avoid having coffee, tea, dark chocolate, or other caffeine-rich foods and drinks with your caffeine gummy, says Wiemann. Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
- Limit caffeine gummies to the morning. Harris recommends cutting off caffeine eight hours before bedtime.
- Make sure you stay within the recommended amount of caffeine per day. “It is recommended to not exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, equivalent to about four cups of coffee,” says Wiemann.
Do caffeine chews work?
Yes. According to Wiemann, the energizing effects of a caffeine gummy or chew should be similar to what you’d get from a cup of coffee.
How long does it take for caffeine gummies to work?
That depends on your body. “Everybody has a different rate of caffeine metabolism,” says Thomason. You’ll probably get an energy boost more quickly from a caffeine gummy than a cup of coffee. That’s because it takes minutes to drink coffee and only seconds to consume a caffeine gummy bear.
Exercising is another way to boost your energy in the morning. Learn more about the benefits of morning workouts.