FoodFacts.com has found some positive information for the moderate consumption of caffeine during the past year. At the same time, we’ve kept our community up-to-date on its negative effects as well – especially when it comes to energy drinks and our children. Whether it’s coffee, tea, soda or those energy drinks, our kids are consuming more of it. Since 1977, there has been a 70% increase in caffeine consumption for children and adolescents.
There have been many studies that link caffeine to improved cognitive performance for certain tasks. A new study out of the University of Buffalo has recently focused on caffeine’s effects on the cognitive behavior of children and teenagers. The study investigated whether male and female children perform differently on five separate tasks in response to caffeine.
96 children and adolescents participated in the study. Researchers measured developmental and gender differences in the participants who were either given caffeine or a placebo and then participated in memory tests, reaction time tests and color-word tasks. The group consuming caffeine performed better in all of the testing scenarios. They all had an increased number of correct responses in the memory tests. And the females had more correct responses than the males in the reaction time tests and color-word tasks. The results suggest that caffeine can have a different effect in females because of circulating steroid hormones.
In addition to this study regarding the consumption of caffeine in children, researchers also investigated whether pairing a flavored food with caffeine would enhance likeability of the food consumed. Sometimes that muffin or bagel just doesn’t taste the same in the morning without a cup of coffee. There may be a reason why.
Researchers tested whether a caffeinated beverage paired with an unusually flavored yogurt would enhance the perceived flavor of that yogurt when compared with a placebo.
For this test, 68 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 randomly received a caffeinated beverage or a placebo. They then consumed a low energy density yogurt or a high energy density yogurt. The flavors of yogurt used for this test were not typical flavors and included things like almond, maple, peppermint and cumin.
Participants rated and ranked seven different flavors of yogurt over a four day period. Flavor preferences increased over those four days with the yogurt paired with caffeine consistently ranked higher in flavor than the same yogurts paired with a placebo.
Researchers want to repeat the experiment with fruits and vegetables to determine whether caffeinated beverages could increase the affinity for these important foods, and perhaps encourage increased consumption.
Improved cognitive performance for kids. Better taste perception of unusual flavors. FoodFacts.com loves the idea that, enjoyed in moderation, that cup of coffee most of us enjoy so much can actually have some health benefits!