Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Generation Gap or Food Politics? The Complexities of Caffeine

There are number of issues within the politics of food that are always interesting: Organic Vs GMO, soft drinks in schools - and my own personal favorite, coffee Vs energy drinks.

In Huffington Post today is such an article by Matthew Edlund MD. His observations are as follows:

Coffee is an important social lubricant: Energy Drinks are for loners
Coffee comes from trees: Energy Drinks are chemical creations
Coffee is for everyone: Energy Drinks are for teens

But "Used regularly all such drinks create caffeinism, the addiction to caffeine which can move from the buzzing speed of the addict to the withdrawal hell of headaches, nausea, vomiting and terrifying sleeplessness." All this is used to support his thesis that we get too little rest.

While I have some sympathy for his view that, we are all busy... but believing that consumers have no understanding on how to use caffeine is naive. Consumers are well aware of the caffeine in their beverages.

But also thinking that there is no sociability to caffeine drinks is false. Red Bull is drunk just about in every night club around the world. And there are plenty of 7 Eleven parking lots in Arizona where friends are drinking their Monster together.

Now, if we were talking about 5 Hour Energy... well, that is a different discussion.

1 comment:

Raj said...


Nice post. I agree with your observation that energy drinks are as social among the younger generation as coffee among the current (and older) generation.

However I do feel that Mathew makes some valid points on rest deprivation and the overall medical cautions against excess caffeine.

Ultimately it's for each person to make their own choice. I avoid caffeine after 7 pm since it hinders my sleep. I know many folks who would have a Red Bull with vodka past midnight.