March 4, 2016

Things I Never Knew About My Cup of Joe That You Should Know

I always had this suspicion. Did you know that the coffee you drink every morning - or afternoon, depending on your level of addiction - is one of the most addictive substance in the world yet socially acceptable? No surprise there at all. Imagine a morning without coffee. Tragic isn't it?

My favorite excuse for this coffee addiction is when your brain functionality is way below the standard level necessary to function like a normal human being - critically and absolutely crucial in the morning - and like an automatic defense mechanism, you simply utter "I haven't have my coffee yet!" and the world instantly (no pun intended) understands. Moreover, if you're delivering this spiel to a fellow coffeeholic, you get nothing but total sympathy. You might even get a free coffee out of the deal. Yes, the whole world is a coffee addict! Starbucks can't be any happier. Kaching!

But in all seriousness, why are we morbidly addicted to coffee?

Caffeine 2.0
I get a lot of press releases and PR pitches on every topic imaginable under the sun. But, nothing piques my interest more than the way coffee tickles my fancy. Like a dedicated lover, you simply must get to know who you are intimate with on a daily basis.

According to National Consumers League (NCL), March is the National Nutrition Month and Caffeine Awareness Month. I never knew this before, neither did you I'm sure, but now we know - you and me both.

NCL is raising awareness to this highly addictive substance, that is the coffee you and I love, in connection to the recently published 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans including recommendations on caffeine consumption where more than 95 percent of all adults consume caffeine from foods and/or beverages per day. To a coffeeholic, I'm sure it doesn't matter, but it's a good fodder for your thoughts.

According to Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director, “Although most Americans have a daily caffeine ritual, many might not know about caffeine, including the latest recommendations from the official U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

What you need to know about your morning Joe that you probably didn't know before
In the interest of informing American consumers and promoting moderation, NCL provides the following 11 things you likely did not know about caffeine:

1. The world’s top caffeine consuming nations include Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

2. Caffeine has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. It is reported that tea was first consumed in China as early as 3000 BC, and there is evidence of coffee consumption as early as the 9th Century in Ethiopia.

3. The principal dietary sources of caffeine remain largely unchanged, and the Dietary Guidelines confirm that most intake of caffeine in the United States continues to come from coffee, tea, and soda.

4. The recently released Dietary Guidelines conclude that moderate coffee consumption (up to 400 mg/day of caffeine) can be part of a healthy eating pattern. Moderate caffeine intake of up to 400 mg/day has also been found to be safe by Health Canada and the European Food Safety Authority.

5. On average, caffeine intake of American adults ranges from 110 mg/day (for women ages 19-30) up to 260 mg/day (for men ages 51-70) and U.S. dietary patterns indicate that caffeine intake has remained steady over the past decade.

6. The following are examples of how much you would have to consume to reach 400 mg of caffeine.

16.6 servings of green tea (24 mg caffeine/8 fl. oz.)
11.5 servings of brand cola (average 35 mg caffeine/12 fl. oz.)
8.5 servings of black tea (47 mg caffeine/8 fl. oz.)
5 servings of Red Bull energy drink (80 mg caffeine/8.4 fl. oz.)
4.2 servings of regular brewed coffee (95 mg caffeine/8 fl. oz.)
2.2 servings of coffee house coffee (180 mg caffeine/8 fl. oz.)
2 servings of 5-Hour Energy (200 mg caffeine/2 fl. oz.)
1 serving of 10-Hour Energy shot (422 mg caffeine/2 fl. oz.)

7. Some animals should not consume caffeine. Dogs, cats, and birds cannot metabolize caffeine, so don’t feed your pets chocolate or anything with caffeine!

8. Caffeine is sometimes found in surprising places like orange soda, lemonade, and enhanced water beverages.

9. Amounts of caffeine in “cold brewed” coffee can be astonishing. These products may contain as much as 2,160 mg of caffeine per 32 fl. oz. bottle (that’s the equivalent of about 23 cups of home brewed coffee, 62 cans of cola, or 45 cups of black tea!).

10. Caffeine is found naturally in over 60 plants, and it is also produced synthetically and added to some products including soft drinks and energy drinks. As the actual source of caffeine does not matter, the Dietary Guidelines treat caffeine holistically, focusing on the ingredient itself whether naturally-occurring, synthetic, or a combination of both—versus individual caffeinated products.

11. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines find strong and consistent evidence that moderate caffeine consumption in healthy adults is not associated with an increased risk of major chronic diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease) or premature death.

To Label or Not to Label
I agree to that of consumers needing to know what is in their food and how much is in it. I think it justifies the need to know exactly what you're ingesting and how much is being consumed. Who knows, we're probably ingesting wood pulp and not know it! Moreover, to someone who are anal about numbers, every drop of calorie sure counts. Can't argue with that.

“To maximize transparency for consumers, NCL believes that all products containing caffeine should declare the amount of caffeine per serving—and per container—on the label.” added Greenberg.

FDA currently requires food labels to disclose added caffeine as an ingredient, but the label is not required to provide the amount of caffeine. Consequently, very few products voluntarily list the total amount of caffeine they contain, although some companies, like Red Bull and Monster, and some soft drinks, provide this information voluntarily.

Children and Coffee
According to NCL, children and teens should generally consume less caffeine due to their lower body weights (and parents should monitor).

My question is, how young or old should our children's lips start touching the rim of a coffee mug and sipping the coffee in it like a pro? There is no clear answer anywhere but it's up to you, parents, when you think they're allowed. Afterall, who can escape the enchanting mermaid siren call of Starbucks!

My daughter started heeding the call when she was 9. It began when she took a sip of my favorite blended Frappuccino drink and fell in love head over heels with it. I knew that very moment, she's eternally hooked. And that's when my husband and I also knew, it was time to get the Starbucks Refillable Gold card.

I personally don't monitor my caffeine intake because I normally take 1 regular-sized mug serving of coffee each morning and occasionally at night "when I feel like it". I believe in moderation just like when I drink my wine. I think self-control plays a huge role in any given setting or scenario. Besides, coffee makes me sleepy so it doesn't really bother me at all. Addiction or no addiction. It all depends on who drinks it. Information provided is good though. It's empowering to know more about what you gulp down your throat every morning. 

So there! Drink up.  

Yummy Coffee Recipes to Feed Your addiction:


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