Whether it’s a strong cup of Joe, an energy drink, green tea or a chocolate bar, 85 percent of Americans consume caffeine every single day, says Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumer League (NCL). But the majority of Americans, she says, aren’t caffeine literate.
Here are 10 things you might not know about caffeine, courtesy of the NCL.
1. Sixty-four percent of Americans consume coffee daily; 17 percent consume tea; 17 percent consume soda; and 2 percent consume energy drinks.
2. Caffeine takes 15-45 minutes to take effect. The average person will eliminate half of the original amount consumed between 4-6 hours.
3. Pregnant women should avoid caffeine, and it is not recommended for children.
4. Birds, dogs and cats cannot metabolize caffeine – so don’t feed your pets chocolate (or give them coffee!).
5. The earliest rumored consumption of caffeine was by a Chinese emperor in 3,000 BC, who is said to have accidently discovered that when certain leaves fell into boiling water, a fragrant and restorative drink resulted. We now call this drink tea.
6. Caffeine is found in the seeds and leaves of more than 60 plants around the world. Coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, kola nuts, guarana plants and yerba mate are just a few that contain caffeine.
7. Regardless of whether caffeine is naturally occurring (coffee or tea), or in its synthetic form (cola or energy drinks), the chemical structure is identical, and its effect on the human body is the same.
8. The darker the coffee roast, the less caffeine in the coffee bean. Unroasted, green coffee beans have a higher concentration of caffeine. For teas, it’s the opposite: the darker the tea, the higher the caffeine.
9. Safe caffeine intake falls around 400mg per day for healthy adults, which is about 6-7 cups of black tea, 4-5 cups of home brew coffee, 2-3 Starbucks Grande Lattes, 8 cans of Diet Coke, or 5 cans of Red Bull. A typical serving or portion of caffeine is usually an 8 fl oz cup of home-brewed coffee, a 20 fl oz diet cola, a 1.5 fl oz espresso shot and an 8.4 fl oz energy drink – all of which amount to approximately 70-90mg of caffeine.
10. Aside from the ‘pick-me-up’ that is a well-known effect of caffeine, there is evidence that caffeine has some positive effects against diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Too much caffeine, however, can result in side effects like jitteriness and sleeplessness.
Published with permission from RISMedia.