January 14, 2015

You're caffeinated and (probably) don't even know it

kohana-coffee-is-making-waves-in-austin-_1028_40011355_1_14109762_500It’s crunch time. You’re cranking out your homework to finish the semester in an Austin culinary arts program and you’re reaching for the coffee pot or energy drink every hour on the hour. You need caffeine. When you lie awake later, you’ll be thoroughly aware of why you can’t sleep. Coffee and carbonated beverages aren’t the only way to give a little jolt to your system. These surprising foods also contain caffeine:

Medicines
The Food and Drug Administration classifies caffeine as a drug and a food additive. It is used in over-the-counter and prescription medicines to help improve the other ingredients in pain relievers, and to stimulate individuals that have trouble with tiredness or drowsiness.

Ice cream
Any kind of ice cream labeled “coffee” or that has little chocolatey bits has some caffeine. Those mini candy pieces, tiny cookie dough chunks and delicious chocolate swirls all have caffeine from the coco beans they are made from. While this method of consumption isn’t likely to give you a good buzz, it does still technically contain the drug.

Fruity sodas
Often people don’t realize that dark colas like Dr. Pepper or Coke aren’t the only varieties that contain caffeine. According to CBS News, various brands of root beer, cream soda and even orange soda have up to half the amount of caffeine of an 8 ounce cup of coffee.

Decaf coffee
While the option to go decaf can help to cut down on the amount of caffeine you consume, it is not entirely caffeine-free. The process to remove caffeine from coffee beans can reduce the amount from your typical 8 ounce cup of joe, which contains 95-200 milligrams of the drug, to around 2-12 milligrams.

Gum and mints
The next time you’re standing at the checkout line, take a look at the mint and gum selection. Do you remember when Amp, Wrigley’s and Rockstar had energy gums available? According to the Huffington Post, the FDA got involved in the regulation of these products in 2013 and many major manufacturers backed out, leaving this new revenue option for companies like Jolt. The FDA raised concerns about the copious amount of caffeine that already exists in the food supply and warned that consumption by children could lead to problems with their cardiovascular and neurological systems. Today you can still add some pep to your step with a few gum varieties that offer up to 100 milligrams of the drug, akin to a cup of coffee, in convenience and grocery stores across the country.