Tag Archives: caffeine

Caffeine may have an effect on cognitive performance for kids … and how we all perceive the flavor of foods

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!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/259521.php

That cup o’ Jo may do more than get your morning started – possible link between coffee and a longer life span

FoodFacts.com really enjoys finding information that lets us feel good about indulging in some of our favorite foods and beverages. Coffee is a favorite for many consumers. It helps them get their day going, it’s hot and comforting – and for many, the day just isn’t the same without it. But there have been ongoing concerns about caffeine, even for folks who aren’t sensitive to it, or have other health problems that prevent them from considering products in which it is an ingredient.

Coming out of the National Cancer Institute, a new study of almost 500,000 older adults has shown some surprising results. The study’s participants were followed for about 12 years and it was discovered that as coffee consumption increased, the risk of death decreased.

An article has just been published in Journal of Caffeine Research titled “Epidemiology of Caffeine Consumption and Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-specific Mortality” discussing the research.  It presents an exploration of the many factors that might contribute to the association between coffee, disease and mortality.

The researchers explore the relationship between coffee drinking and behaviors like smoking and alcohol abuse, the effects of caffeine on blood pressure and cardiac function, and the importance of differentiating between the effects of coffee and caffeine. They point out that with the almost universal daily consumption of caffeine, there is a definite need for random controlled trials to help identify the components of coffee, as well as other caffeinated beverages and find out which of those components can demonstrate the benefits seen in this new study, as well as cause potential harm.

This is certainly just a preliminary study, but it does appear possible that there may be specific findings in subsequent studies that can clarify how coffee – and caffeine – can be advantageous and explore relationships between both for specific conditions as we age.

While we understand that caffeine is not something we want to consume in tremendous quantities, because it is a stimulant and can have adverse affects, FoodFacts.com is very curious to see whether or not there is a real relationship between coffee drinking and longevity. Meanwhile, we’re happy to hear that a cup of Morning Jo might be doing us more good than harm. We’ll keep you posted on further studies that provide more detailed information!

Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/256623.php

The latest news on caffeine and skin cancer

Food Facts came across some great information regarding caffeine intake and skin cancer that we wanted to make sure we brought to the attention of our community.

A new study published here in the United States has linked the increase of caffeine a person’s diet with a lower risk of basil cell carcinoma.  Basil cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer.  The study included over 110,000 people and was published in early July in the journal Cancer Research.

Dr. Jiali Han, an associate professor with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health went on record saying:   “I would not recommend increasing your coffee intake based on these data alone.”  However, he did add that basal cell carcinoma is just one of a growing list of diseases that appear to be positively affected by increasing coffee/caffeine intake.  That list includes diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Most skin cancers  treated in the U.S. are basal cell skin cancers.  This is the type that begins in the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) and results from regular exposure to ultraviolet radiation.  Basal Cell Carcinoma is a slow-growing cancer which is not life-threatening.   However, it still requires costly treatment.  Any finding that helps prevent the disease can have a positive effect on the public health and our over-burdened health care system.

There were 112,897 people taking part in the health study.  Of those participants a little over 22,700 developed basal cell carcinoma during the 20 years of follow up involved in the study.

It was found that the more caffeine participants consumed, the lower their risk of developing Basal Cell Carcinoma.   They then ranked the study participants according to their caffeine consumption and found that in the case of women, the top 20% of consumers had an 18% lower risk of developing the cancer than the bottom 20%.  The risk was lower for men by 13%

For coffee specifically, it was found that women drinking 3 cups of coffee per day had a 21% lower risk of developing the skin cancer and risk for men was 10% lower.  Caffeine from other food and beverage sources were found to have a similar effect.   The consumption of decaffeinated coffee, however did not correspond to a similar decrease in risk.

It was noted that more study is needed that will include different populations.  It is also important to note that the increase of caffeine consumption showed no effect on developing other forms of skin cancer.

Food Facts thinks that the ability to help prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma through an increase in caffeine is just one of the first steps of many to discovering how food and ingredients both positively and negatively can affect our health.  Stay informed.  It makes a world of difference.

Read more at:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247423.php

 

The changing faces of the foods we eat

FoodFacts.com is constantly fascinated by the changing lenses through which particular foods are viewed. Do you remember back in the 90’s when the “no-fat” craze had us turning to completely fat-free products, thinking they were good for us. Did anyone, during that time, stop to think what was replacing the fats in fat-free cheeses or fat-free mayonnaise? Caffeine was frowned upon. And chocolate was really just candy.

It’s amazing what a difference a decade can make! Let’s take a look at a few foods whose bad reputations have turned around.

Eggs
Just a few decades ago, eating whole eggs was considered one of the unhealthiest things you could do. Products like Egg Beaters, and other egg substitutes came to the rescue for egg lovers everywhere. You could order egg white omelets at the diner; you would mix up a turkey meatloaf with egg whites and discard the yolks and angel food cake had a resurgence of popularity because whole eggs were just bad for you. The confusion over eggs stems from their cholesterol content. One large egg contains 213 mg of cholesterol, accounting for two-thirds of the recommended daily limit. When scientists learned that high blood cholesterol was associated with heart disease, foods high in cholesterol logically became suspect. But after 25 years of study, it has become evident that cholesterol in food is not the culprit — saturated fat has a much bigger effect on blood cholesterol. And one egg contains about 1.6 grams of saturated fat. In 2000, the American Heart Association (AHA) revised its dietary guidelines and gave healthy adults the green light to enjoy eggs once again. The AHA’s guidelines now allow an egg a day for healthy adults while still advising a total daily cholesterol limit of 300 mg.

Coffee
Twenty years ago, caffeine was questionable. Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Coffee houses were becoming increasingly popular and offering up brews of varying caffeination all over. The trend was to try to avoid it. But not so much today. Recently a new study found that coffee may be linked to the prevention of basal cell carcinoma. And it was linked to the caffeine directly, as those drinking decaf coffee did not experience the same decrease in risk as those drinking caffeinated coffee.

Chocolate
While it will never be true that chocolate can be included in any of the major food groups, it’s becoming widely recognized as having important health effects for those who consume it. A few months ago, research out of Great Britain reviewed seven different studies done on the health benefits of chocolate. For heart health, the studies revealed significant benefits for chocolate. It possesses antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic and anti-thrombotic effects. It’s certainly not advisable to overdo, but a little chocolate is actually good for you.

Things are always changing. We’re always learning more. And sciences are always advancing. The foods we eat can’t be left out of those statements. So FoodFacts.com will always try to bring out the latest information as things continue to change.

Teenagers and Caffeine Drinks

energydrinks

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)

Analyzing Caffeine in Dietary Supplements

Caffeine | Foodfacts.com

Caffeine | Foodfacts.com

About half of adults in the United States report consuming dietary supplements regularly. What they may not know is that some of these supplements contain caffeine, even if it’s not listed on the label. Now, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Beltsville, Md., have analyzed a number of caffeine-containing products to explore caffeine levels in segments of the U.S. dietary supplement market. Continue reading