Skip to content

Caffeine Facts

Photo Credit: Jason Wilson

While catching up on my reading about caffeine I came across a story featured in the April 23, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report. The facts I was able to pull out were simply amazing:

  • A police officer in Alaska has invented a combination of caffeine and lip balm.
  • An inventor in Durham, NC has perfected the recipe for a caffeine-infused doughnut or bagel.
  • The number of 18-to-24-year-olds who drink coffee daily has doubled, from 16 percent to 31 percent.
  • Energy drinks like Red Bull and Cocaine, with several times the buzz of a can of Coke, have mushroomed into a .5 billion-a-year industry.
  • Children’s consumption of soft drinks has doubled in the past 35 years, with sodas supplanting milk.
  • A 2003 study of Columbus, Ohio middle schoolers found some taking in 800 milligrams of caffeine a day — more than twice the recommended maximum for adults of 300 milligrams. (Learn how to cut back on caffeine intake.)
  • Test subjects dosed with the amount found in a cup of coffee come out ahead on problem-solving tasks.
  • By triggering the release of adrenaline to help muscles work harder and longer, caffeine so clearly enhances athletic performance that until 2004 it was considered a controlled substance by the International Olympic Committee.
  • The latest findings on coffee suggest that it even staves off disease. Caffeine reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, for example, by blocking receptors for adenosine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motor function. It is now being tested as a Parkinson’s treatment. Caffeine also heads off migraines by contracting blood vessels in the brain.
  • Coffee, like blueberries and broccoli, contains potent antioxidants. It appears to reduce the risk of colon cancer, gallstones, and liver cancer, among other illnesses.
  • In 2005, Harvard researchers found that drinking six cups of coffee or more daily cut the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by half in men and 30 percent in women.
  • One study of 80,000 women showed that those who drank more than two or three cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of suicide over 10 years by a third.
  • The young adult crowd who favor caffeine with their alcohol appear to be putting themselves at some risk, too. According to Mark Fillmore, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky, “Caffeine seems to restore the speed of your behavior but not the accuracy.” This gives a whole new meaning to “The Quick and the Dead!”
  • “Coffee culture” has become so much a part of American culture that 36-year-old Starbucks, once considered a gourmet’s treat, now boasts 9,401 stores nationwide and has focused growth on economically struggling neighborhoods far from the yuppified precincts of its early success.

So what have a learned from all of these factoids?

First, I think it is safe to say that very few people who use caffeine really know the pros and cons and how to use it appropriately.

Second, I know almost no one who thinks about their use or abuse of caffeine.

And finally, it made me think twice about my single morning cup a few days per week.

Related Topics:

Technorati Tags: , ,


The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand


Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

  • WebMD Daily

    WebMD Daily

    Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

  • Men's Health

    Men's Health

    Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

  • Women's Health

    Women's Health

    Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices