Davis Allen Cripe died last month after consuming too many highly caffeinated beverages in a span of two hours.
The 16-year old collapsed at his high school near Columbia, South Carolina after he consumed a latte from McDonald’s, a large Mountain Dew drink and a highly caffeinated energy drink, Richland county coroner Gary Watts said. According to him, the cause of death was a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia.
He said that Cripe was considered healthy and that the autopsy didn’t show any sign of an existing undiagnosed heart condition. Cripe weighed about 160 lbs but was not considered morbidly obese and would have been fine if he drank the same amount of caffeine on another day (just not in two hours.)
“This is not a caffeine overdose,” said Watts. “We’re not saying that it was the total amount of caffeine in the system, it was just the way that it was ingested over that short period of time.”
“We’re not trying to speak out totally against caffeine,” said Watts. “We believe people need to pay attention to their caffeine intake and how they do it, just as they do with alcohol or cigarettes.”
According to caffeineinformer.com, a McDonald’s latte has 142 milligrams of caffeine, a 20-ounce Mountain Dew has 90mg, and a 16-ounce energy drink can have as much as 240mg.
The FDA says that caffeine consumption up to 400mg a day (which is about 4 coffees) is presumably safe for adults, and 200mg a day is believed to be safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children and teenagers should avoid caffeine and other stimulants altogether.