A lot of us like to start our day with a little caffeine pick-me-up like a fresh cup of coffee, and others swear by their afternoon tea. Caffeine has been enjoyed in foods and beverages for over 1,000 years. But even though it has been around for so long, there are still misconceptions floating around that need to be cleared up.
In this episode of DataDish: Your Trusted Serving of Science, we’ll get the buzz on caffeine from Becki Holmes, a Registered Dietitian and expert health consultant who has held numerous elected positions within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Some of the topics Becki addresses include:
What caffeine is and where it comes from. Caffeine comes from a variety of natural sources but also can be synthesized. Beverages are the leading consumption source.
Potential safety concerns. Caffeine is one of the most-studied food ingredients on Earth. Leading authorities concur that it is safe and can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle.
What “moderation” means in terms of consumption levels. “Moderate” is a guideline, not a target. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans say 400 mg daily is considered moderate intake, which translates roughly to five shots of espresso, four cups of home-brewed coffee, five 20-oz. bottles of cola or five 8-oz. energy drinks.
Caffeine sensitivity. Some people are more sensitive than others. The effects of caffeine are both learned and personal. Your experience can vary based on factors like genetics, level of physical activity and age.
Positive benefits. Caffeine can help you be more alert, energized and focused. It is well-studied for its effects on perceptions of exertion among athletes. Science suggests it can also have potential benefits for long-term chronic health conditions, such as protection against neurological degenerative diseases.
Reproductive health or maternal health. Women of reproductive age or who are pregnant should talk to their health practitioners about caffeine. Some authorities say pregnant women can safely consume caffeine up to 200 mg per day; other authorities put that number at 300 mg.
We hope you enjoy this podcast, whether you’re listening with a beverage in your hand or nothing at all!