Caffeine is a drug that acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system, making you more alert by warding off the drowsiness and lethargy temporarily. People who are over worked and sleep deprived often turn to caffeine to boost energy, which is considered fine as a few milligrams of caffeine can actually wake up the brain and improve concentration. The problem arises when you become addicted to it, and will have to endure side effects like dehydration and sleeping trouble. Other than the obvious caffeine items like coffee, tea and soft drinks, there are other unexpected products which are known to contain caffeine that you need to be concerned about. Listed below are 12 products which have a hidden source of caffeine.
1. Decaf coffee
We all reach out for the decaf coffee with the impression that it doesn’t have any caffeine in it. But don’t be fooled. According to research and tests conducted at various coffee outlets, the decaf coffee was known to contain a certain amount of caffeine. Although the caffeine amounts were much less compared to that of regular coffee, consuming about 10 cups of decaf coffee would deliver as much caffeine as would one or two cups of regular coffee.
2. Non-cola sodas
Colas like Pepsi and Mountain Dew are known to be high in caffeine and invariably bad for health in the long run. You would think that buying a non cola soda would make this much better for your health, but you are wrong. Certain drinks, Barq’s root beer, for example are known to contain a small amount of caffeine which when consumed in large quantities would prove just as bad as the regular colas. Both the diet and regular colas have about 23 ml of caffeine and some cream sodas even have about 25 ml of caffeine in them. So, think twice before you reach out for any type of soda.
Very few people can refuse a bar of chocolate and since caffeine is found naturally in cocoa beans and chocolates are made from cocoa beans, a little bit of the stimulant is obviously present in them. Candy bars however are known to have a lesser amount of caffeine but the culprits are the dark chocolates which have a higher content. While some chocolates, like the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has a high content of 31 ml of caffeine, other chocolates have added caffeine in them for increased flavor. So, avoiding a cup of tea or cola, but gorging on a Snickers Charge would fetch you the same result.
4. Ice cream
If you opt for a chocolate or coffee flavored ice cream, then it definitely has caffeine in them. Many known ice cream brands out there, which sell coffee flavors, contain about 30 to 45 ml of caffeine per half cup. This is more or less the same that of a can of coke. So, every scoop you take is sure to deliver a small jolt at some point.
5. Weight-loss pills
An analysis conducted by the Consumer Lab indicated that consuming about 1223 ml of Zantrex 3 is more or less similar to having about 12 cups of coffee a day. Now, that is definitely something to be concerned about. So, while you are swallowing all those weight loss pills to shrink your waistline, you are also consuming a lot of caffeine without actually realizing it.
6. Pain relievers
You might end up drinking a pot of hot tea to curb that small head ache, but over doing it can actually cause head aches and not relieve you of it. Similarly, you pop in a pain reliever if you need it and the pain subsides immediately. Research shows that tow migraine tablets would contain about 130 ml of caffeine in it, which is the same as that of a Light Frappuccino that you would pick up at Starbucks. So, stick to a maximum of two per 24 hours when you need to, and don’t go further than that as it could cause damage.
7. Energy water
A new trend that is fast emerging is the use of energy water in bottles, instead of drinking normal water. You get your energy from consuming the amount of caffeine in them and although some brands clearly display the amount of caffeine it contains, others say they are flavored with Guarana, a natural source of caffeine. You are easily deceived thinking the caffeine amount is less, but in all honesty, they contain more or less the same as other brands of energy water drinks.
8. Alcoholic energy drinks
Alcoholic energy drinks fall in the same category as that of other energy drinks. A whole lot of drinks were stopped after research concluded that they were being targeted at under age drinkers. It was found that drinks like Sparks contained 214 ml of caffeine per can, which is the equivalent of caffeine found in 6 cans of coke. The damage these beverages do to the body are beyond control after a certain point of time. So, think twice before you grab those alcoholic energy boosters.
9. Breath fresheners
Believe it or not, but chewing on a gum or mint can have the same caffeine effect as having a cup of coffee. For example, the Jolt label came out with a line of caffeinated mints and gums which had immense amounts of caffeine in them. Chewing on two spearmint flavored gums gave out enough caffeine a cup of coffee did, making it a product harmful to health. Brands with similar effects include Penguins mints and Foosh energy mints.
10. SumSeeds Energized Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are considered to be a good source of vitamins and packed with B6, folic acid and Vitamin E. Brands like Sumseeds have marketed it in such a way that they are a healthier alternative to energy drinks. But what you need to remember is that they contain caffeine and other natural energy boosters like ginseng, lysine and taurine, not particularly good for health. For example, one serving of these energized seeds contain 140 ml of caffeine, putting it in the same category 4 cans of caffeine coke contains.
11. Morning Spark instant oatmeal
Morning Spark Instant oatmeal is an energy breakfast item that contains oatmeal and a whole lot of Vitamin C. Other than the fact that this product delivers a good source of whole grains, a serving of this contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. The product aims at putting a ‘spark’ in your morning as opposed to just having a normal cup of coffee and regular oatmeal as a side.
12. Perky Jerky
If your idea of an afternoon snack is a pack of perky jerky, then think twice. Even though they boast about it carrying less fat and sodium and being low in calories, a serving of jerky is known to contain 75 ml of caffeine, similar as drinking a whole can of Red Bull. That’s a whole lot of energy packed into a packet of Perky Jerky.