CAFFEINATED WATER INSTEAD OF COFFEE, COLA OR ENERGY DRINKS?
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By Cori Marshall
Water is not the first thing you think of when it comes to your morning shot of caffeine, or that three o'clock pick me up. Now, caffeinated water is being touted as a healthier option for getting your stimulant fix.
Norm Snyder, CEO of Avitae USA, LLC, said that their caffeinated water product started out as a quest to develop "a lighter healthier caffeinated beverage." Snyder added that their product "stripped away the artificial colouring and flavours, sugar, calories, and preservatives," leaving a clean product that would put a little kick in your step.
What benefits does adding caffeine to water actually bring the consumer? Snyder said that "it's more about the benefit of removing, what is in soda and energy drinks." When water as the base of every beverage, what Snyder is saying rings somewhat true.
In terms of taste, other than the added natural flavours, it tastes like regular water. Snyder highlighted that Avitae "has done a good job of masking any bitterness that caffeine could impart on a drink." According to Snyder consumers state that Avitae tastes just like water.
Caffeine has been known to cause mild physical dependence, and I asked Snyder if this or any other health concerns related to caffeine were taken into account. Snyder replied "I am not too concerned about caffeine addiction, I mean how long has coffee been out there?" Snyder related that more positive properties of caffeine are coming out in the press, and that this or any product "should be used in moderation."
Snyder explained that caffeinated water gives drinkers a boost without all the unhealthy add-ons that come with coffee, soda, and energy drinks. How does the caffeine water stack up against its competitors taking into account that there is no sugar, calories, or sodium in it?
According to myfitnesspal.com a 330 ml serving of cola has "139 calories, 11 total carbs, 35g of sugar." As for energy drinks, a 16 fl. oz serving will give you "130 calories, 50 mg of sodium, 31 total carbs, 30 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein." Good old reliable coffee, 8 fl. Oz worth will net you "5 mg of sodium, 128 mg of potassium, 1 total carbs, and 1% iron."
Cola and energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar and calories, and the caffeine water appears to be the healthier choice in this case. When it comes to coffee the choice is not as clear.
Mary M. Sweeney Ph.D, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that "It's hard to say whether caffeinated water would be an overall healthier choice relative to other caffeinated beverages." There are certainly positives to the boosted water, Sweeney added it would be free of "added sugar and additional stimulants."
Sweeney pointed out that "the beneficial health effects of coffee, may be related to its components other than caffeine." Sweeney explained "it is not clear how caffeine delivered through water or relatively new ways may affect individuals overall pattern of consumption." Researchers don't know whether or not caffeine in water would be more or less addictive than in coffee or energy drinks.
Caffeine is not without its negative side effects, beyond building a tolerance to it, Sweeney said that daily consumption could lead to "withdrawal symptoms like, headache, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, or irritability," if that individual cuts back. Aside from causing restlessness and nervousness, too much caffeine at "higher doses can cause irregular heartbeat and require medical intervention," Sweeney said. The extreme side effects are rare.
It is suggested that adults consume a maximum of 400 milligrams daily, with that daily intake they should not experience any negative consequences. Sweeney added that "there are still large individual differences in how caffeine is broken down in the body," meaning that an amount of caffeine will impact everyone in a unique way.
Getting your caffeine boost from water or coffee may not be an easy choice to make, and it may come down to an environmental one, the fact that the caffeine water comes in plastic bottles.