Tag Archives: alcohol

Teenagers and Caffeine Drinks

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Foodfacts.com aims to educate consumers on different ingredients, products, and health-related conditions. As previously mentioned in our blogs, food companies have been using more creative marketing strategies to drive teenagers and younger children to purchase their products. A major trend has been incorporating caffeine and other stimulants into energy drinks to give kids that extra “boost” for workouts, sports, or just to stay up later. Below is a recent article from the New York Times explaining a research study addressing this trend among teens and young adults.

Teenagers Prefer Drinks With Caffeine

Super-caffeinated energy drinks with names like Red Bull and Monster are increasingly popular among teenagers. But is it savvy marketing or the caffeine that keeps teenagers coming back for more?

New research from the University at Buffalo suggests that adding caffeine to a beverage increases its appeal among young people — even when they don’t know the drink contains caffeine.
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To study the effect of caffeine on taste preference, the researchers first set out to create new drink flavors that weren’t familiar to their test subjects. Using a combination of Kool-Aid and flavored carbonated water, the researchers concocted seven new drink flavors, including vanilla-orange and lime-pomegranate. Then they asked 100 young people, ages 12 to 17, to rank their favorites.

The scientists then picked each child’s fourth-ranked drink. Half the students were given the drink with caffeine added, while the other half, acting as a placebo group, were given the version of the drink without caffeine.

Over the next four days, the students came back to the lab to taste the drink and rank their preference for it on a scale of 0 to 100. Notably, among the placebo drinkers, there was no change in the students’ flavor ratings over the four-day tasting period. But among those students who were unknowingly drinking a caffeinated version of the drink, the flavor ratings improved each day, rising by 20 to 25 percent over the four days.

“Every day, the association with that flavor and the feeling it gave them increased their liking just a little bit,’’ said Jennifer Temple, an author of the study and assistant professor in the department of exercise and nutrition science. Dr. Temple and colleagues are presenting the study on Friday at the annual meeting of the Society for Study of Ingestive Behavior in Clearwater, Fla.
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Dr. Temple said the study suggests that the presence of caffeine in a beverage influences a child’s taste preferences. That said, the study data weren’t conclusive. On the sixth day of testing, the students were given all seven drinks again and asked to rate them. Even though they had tasted their fourth-favorite flavor repeatedly over the past four days, it remained in fourth place.

In conducting the research, the researchers told the students they were part of a study testing a variety of drink additives, including flavors, artificial sweeteners, carbonation and caffeine. Follow-up testing at the study’s end showed that the students were no more likely to guess the beverage had caffeine in it than any of the other additives, showing that neither group was aware if they were drinking a placebo beverage or one with an additive.

Dr. Temple said flavor and packaging likely influence a child’s drink choice. But once they have made a choice, over time children appear to develop a stronger preference for drinks with caffeine.

“The pairing between the flavors and the way caffeine makes them feel reinforces their propensity for drinking these drinks,’’ she said. “The caffeine is what makes these drinks so reinforcing to children and so liked.’’

(Tony Cenicola, The New York Times)

Alcohol ‘a major cause of cancer’

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About one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women in western European countries are caused by current and past alcohol consumption, according to a study released on Friday.

For some types of cancer, the rates are significantly higher, it said.

In 2008, for men, 44, 25 and 33 percent of upper digestive track, liver and colon cancers respectively were caused by alcohol in six of the countries examined, the study found.

The countries were Britain, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany and Denmark.

The study also showed that half of these cancer cases occurred in men who drank more than a recommended daily limit of 24 grammes of alcohol, roughly two small glasses of wine or a pint of beer.

The cancer rates for women in the same countries, along with the Netherlands and France, was 18 percent for throat, mouth and stomach, 17 percent for liver, five percent for breast and four percent for colon cancer.

Four-fifths of these cases were due to daily consumption above recommended limits, set for women at half the level of men.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has long maintained that there is a causal link between alcohol consumption and cancers, especially of the liver, colon, upper digestive tract and, for women, breast.

But few studies have tried to connect the dots across a large population between cancer rates and total alcohol consumption, or the proportion of the disease burden occurring in people who drink more than guidelines would allow.

“Our data show that many cancer cases could have been avoided if alcohol consumption is limited to two alcoholic drinks per day in men and one alcoholic drink per day in women,” said Madlen Schutze, an epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam and lead author of the study.

The findings also suggest that the limits set by many national health authorities may not be stringent enough to avoid the disease, she said.

“Even more cancer cases would be prevented if people reduced their alcohol intake to below recommended guidelines or stopped drinking alcohol at all,” she said in a statement.

The results, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), are drawn from the so-called EPIC cancer survey of 363,000 men and women who have been tracked since the mid-1990s.

Other risk factors that might have also led to cancer — especially smoking and obesity — were taken into account, the researchers said.

Nearly 44 percent of men in Germany exceeded the 24-gramme daily limit, followed by Denmark (43.6 percent) and Britain (41.1 percent).

Among women, Germany still topped the list, with 43.5 percent of women there exceeding limit, with Denmark (41 percent) and Britain (37.7 percent) coming in second and third.

Article provided by Yahoo Health