Published on January 17th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor0
caffeinated foods: yes or no?
There are many debates about whether caffeine is healthy for our bodies: some say it’s going to help with depression, help keep us from gaining excess weight, that it might even keep death at bay! But most research is centered around the naturally occurring caffeine in coffee, tea, or chocolate. But what happens when caffeine is taken out of it’s natural form and turned into chewing gum, energy drinks, and meat jerky?
According to this article from NPR’s food blog, The Salt, there is an trend towards adding caffeine to all manner of food products, which could be probematic. According to the author, Allison Aubrey, “Manufacturers are promoting their foods as pick-me-ups, but they’re not labeling how much caffeine is included in the products [because] currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not require it. And that’s raising some questions about how much caffeine we’re getting these days.” Scientists are advocating for labels about the amount of caffeine that’s found in these products in order to allow consumers to gauge their daily intake. Additionally problematic is the fact that many of these products will be consumed by children- and there are questions about the dangers of caffeine in youngsters.
But why is it important to monitor our intake of caffeine? Too much caffeine can have negative effects on our sleep patterns and lead to insomnia, nervousness, and irritability. But in moderate amounts, most science seems to agree that a little bit is probably not too bad for our bodies. But these caffeinated products probably come with a host of other ingredients that are more dangerous to our health: processed fats, sugars, and flours make up the bulk of processed foods, and none of these are good for our bodies. Nevermind all that wasteful packaging!
Bottom line: enjoy your caffeine in its natural form- coffee, tea, mate, and chocolate, and keep the processed, caffeinated products on the shelves!