Panera Bread’s charged lemonade is causing a stir: How much caffeine is in it, and what does the FDA recommend?

Court documents indicate that a "regular"-sized Charged Lemonade from Panera contains 260 milligrams of caffeine, and a "large" has 390 milligrams.

Panera Bread is at the center of controversy and multiple lawsuits over its line of flavored Charged Lemonade drinks.

According to USA Today, court documents indicate that a “regular”-sized Charged Lemonade contains 260 milligrams of caffeine, and a “large” has 390 milligrams.

The Food and Drug Administration lists 400 milligrams daily, or around four or five cups of coffee, as a caffeine quantity not typically linked to harmful side effects in healthy adults.

Panera charged lemonade
In this photo illustration, a Panera Bread Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade is displayed at a Panera Bread restaurant on Nov. 1, 2023, in Novato, California. (Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

According to the agency, consuming 1,200 milligrams, or 0.15 tablespoons, of pure caffeine in a short amount of time might have harmful effects, including seizures.

Insomnia, jitters, anxiousness, fast heart rate, nausea, headache, and a feeling of unhappiness are also among the results of consuming excess caffeine.

Panera altered the labeling on the Charged Lemonade items in response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Sarah Katz in October 2023, saying it had “enhanced our existing caffeine disclosure for these beverages” to exercise “an abundance of caution,” USA Today reported.

Katz, 21, a University of Pennsylvania college student, was reportedly diagnosed with a heart condition at a young age. The lawsuit alleges that she went into cardiac arrest twice and died after consuming a Charged Lemonade.

On the chain’s website, clicking through the item description for any of the three Charged Lemonade flavors displays a photograph of the drink and a warning about the product description.

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“Contains caffeine,” it reads, USA Today reported. “Use in moderation. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.”

Panera is also at the center of two other lawsuits — one filed in December alleging the caffeine content of three beverages resulted in the cardiac arrest death of a 46-year-old Florida man and another filed in January claiming that consuming two-and-a-half servings of Charged Lemonade caused permanent heart issues for a 28-year-old Rhode Island woman who is a competitive athlete.

According to USA Today, the Charged Lemonades are still available for purchase at Panera locations but are no longer self-serve; the company has subsequently posted in-store and online warnings regarding the product.

The FDA recommends reducing daily caffeine intake gradually, as stopping abruptly could result in withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, anxiety, and nervousness.

The Grio has contacted Panera for comment, specifically inquiring about the decision to issue a warning rather than pull the beverage.

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