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US Caffeine Consumption: Survey Says . . .

US Caffeine Consumption: Survey Says . . .

  • New caffeine intake survey: We drink a lotta Joe. First US population-based study in 10 years to estimate caffeine from beverages. ~85% of US population consumed at least 1 caffeinated beverage/day. More than 98% of caffeine came from: Coffee, tea, carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks (excluding shots). Mitchella DC, Knightb CA, Hockenberry J, Teplanskyc R, Terryl J. Hartmand TJ. Beverage caffeine intakes in the U.S. Food Chemi Toxicol. 2014;63:136-142. Free full study, here.
  • Who downs the most caffeine? Coffee drinkers win: highest mean amount (223 mg/day) is sipped by adults aged 50–64 years; other beverages lag: Amounts from carbonated beverages, energy drinks, tea ranged between 13-67 mg/day.
  • Caffein’s not so bad. Among healthy adults, moderate consumption (400 mg/day) is “not associated with adverse health effects” (USFDA, 2012). Well-documented benefits: improved mental alertness, concentration, fatigue, athletic performance.
  • Not so bad at all: Consumption has also been linked to: weight loss; improved glucose tolerance/lower risk of T2DM; reduced risk for Parkinson disease, symptom improvement; reduced risk for cancer at several sites.
  • With a few caveats: Excessive use associated with anxiety, headaches, nausea, restlessness. Cold-turkey abstinence may cause headache, fatigue, drowsiness, but usually mild, transient. Increased risk of hypertension, CVD seen in some studies; others find moderate intake (less than 400 mg/day) doesn’t affect CV health. In women of childbearing age or pregnant, current data show no adverse effects of less than 300 mg/day.
  • What’s in your cup? Commercial energy drinks, carbonated beverages, bottled coffee/tea drinks often label caffeine content in milligrams. Brewed coffee/tea is harder to measure: Caffeine concentration is affected by crop origin, processing, and preparation—including type, temperature, time for brewing or steeping.
  • The explosion of specialty brands means you’re probably in the dark on the jolt you’ll get from your cup o’ Joe. Caffeine content of 1 specialty coffee from a single location on 6 consecutive days yielded values ranging from 259 to 564 mg per 16 fluid ounces for the same variety and type sampled. Go figure.

It’s probably no surprise to learn that 85% of the US population consumes at least one caffeinated beverage per day or that we ingest the majority of our caffeine in coffee. The slides above summarize a new survey on American caffeine consumption and the ups and downs to be found in your morning cup o’ Joe.

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