Going Caffeine Free? Foods You Wouldn’t Think Contained Caffeine

by Christine Hronec

Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, that temporarily wards off drowsiness and restores alertness. This ingredient is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance, but, unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is completely legal and unregulated in nearly all jurisdictions. In North America alone, over 90% of adults consume caffeine daily. The Food and Drug Administration lists caffeine as a “multiple purpose generally recognized as safe food substance” in the United States. Part of the reason caffeine is classified by the FDA as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) is due to the fact that toxic doses (over 10 grams) are significantly higher than typically used doses (less than 500 milligrams). Ordinary consumption can have low health risks, even when carried on for years

Although caffeine will provide the short-term energy kick you need, some try to avoid this ingredient due to the impending energy low that comes post-consumption. For that reason, a lot of us try to avoid caffeine whenever we can. Outside of eliminating coffee and pre-workout products that list caffeine as an ingredient, this list reveals other unassuming sources of caffeine:

  • Tea-It might seem like coffee’s non-caffeine best friend, but a cup of tea can have as much as 60 milligrams of caffeine.

  • Decaf-The name does imply that you can drink as much of it as you want, without the effects of caffeine. But don’t be fooled. Consumer Reports in the US tested 36 cups of decaffeinated coffee in 2007 and, although the decaf samples had significantly less caffeine, it still had enough to show up in tests.

  • Non-Cola Beverages- Non-cola carbonated beverages should always undergo a thorough label review to determine whether or not caffeine is present. These types of beverages can contribute to your daily caffeine intake.

  • Energy drinks with Guarana- Energy Water-So this is the new thing? Read the bottle labels, there could be caffeine present. If your drink is flavored with guarana, a Brazilian plant that is a natural source of caffeine, there is most definitely some of the stimulant in your drink.

  • Painkillers-Although we know that caffeine in large quantities can cause headaches, small dosages of the substance can actually curb them. Always be careful and read the medication’s instructions on dosage.

  • Ice-Cream- If there is coffee or chocolate in your ice-cream, expect there to be caffeine too.

  • Chocolate-Caffeine is naturally found in cocoa beans, so any chocolate does have a little bit of the stimulant. The darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content.

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