Hit-and-Run Driver Pleads “Starbucks Defense”

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True story: Excessive caffeine, a mental disorder, and no sleep lead to tragic consequences... At 7:30 on the morning of December 8, 2009, Daniel Noble drove his gold Pontiac onto the University of Washington campus and without hesitation, plowed down a student in a crosswalk. One block later, Noble drove up onto the sidewalk and struck another young man. Again, Noble didn't stop. He drove ahead and parked on the same road in the middle of campus, less than 200 yards from his second victim. … [Read more...]

Brazil’s Children of Guarana: Tribe, Legend, Plant

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Want the crème de la crème of guarana? Head to the highlands of the Maués-Açu River basin in Brazil, and seek out the Sateré-Mawé tribe – the foundation of guarana culture. They domesticated the wild vine and cultivate it as a shrub. The Indians' care and traditions make theirs the best quality. But they sell less than two tons per year, and like premium winemakers, they retain most of the harvest for their own consumption. Commercial companies nearby also raise guarana, but the … [Read more...]

Beverage Lobby Says Caffeine’s Not a Drug. Really?

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The ABA Says Caffeine Is Not a Drug. Really? In a 2011 news release, the American Beverage Association (ABA) has actually stated, "caffeine is not a drug." It also says caffeine is a stimulant. Conflicting statements don't do much for credibility, and misleading statements chip away at consumer safety. Caffeine is classified as a drug, a type of central nervous system stimulant; the FDA considers it both a drug and a food additive. Naturally, the ABA has a mission to boost profits for its … [Read more...]

Guarana Profile

Scan the label on an energy drink or energy shot, and you'll likely see guarana: an ingredient twice as caffeinated as coffee, and a natural product of the Amazon. For centuries, natives there have used it medicinally, to suppress appetite, and for extending physical endurance. What is guarana? The substance hails from the seeds of the guaraná plant, hence the name. Guaranine is the term for the caffeinated element in guarana, which is chemically identical to caffeine in coffee, tea and … [Read more...]

Soft Drinks vs. Energy Drinks: Big Differences

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Grocers stock energy drinks and soft drinks in separate aisles because it's easy for consumers to confuse the two: both are sweet, carbonated, and marketed to teens. But there's a big difference in allowable caffeine levels, according to FDA rules... Caffeine in soft drinks: 71 mg per 12 fluid ounces (upper limit) Caffeine does not have to be listed on the "Nutrition Panel" Caffeine in energy drinks: Any amount the manufacturer considers safe Caffeine must appear on the … [Read more...]

Profile: Energy Drinks and Shots

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We tend to think that more is better, but that's not the case with caffeine. Caffeine is a biphasic drug; low to moderate doses are considered safe, while high doses can create adverse effects. Energy drinks range from moderate to extremely high levels of caffeine. What are energy drinks? The term "energy drink" is a beverage-marketing category. The FDA classifies energy drinks (and energy shots) as "dietary supplements." They contain caffeine and other ingredients intended to boost … [Read more...]