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TOPIC - Caffeine
Question
Is the amount of caffeine in coffee the same as in colas? Do diet beverages contain as much caffeine as regular?
Answer
Coffee generally contains more caffeine than colas, the actual amount is dependent on the volume consumed (see table below). Diet soda beverages contain as much caffeine as regular soda beverages; only the caffeine-free version contains no caffeine.
Coke Classic (12 fl oz) = 46 mg
Diet Coke (12 fl oz) = 46 mg
Mountain Dew (12 fl oz) = 54 mg
Brewed coffee (6 fl oz) = 103 mg
Instant coffee (1 rounded tsp) = 57 mg
General Foods orange cappuccino (14 g powder) = 73 mg
Source: Bowes & Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used. 16th ed.
Question
I should not have caffeine. How can I determine if caffeine is in a food? What ingredients do I need to look for on the label?
Answer
Caffeine is usually listed as it is. I am not aware of any other alternate names used. Other than coffee, tea and chocolate, caffeine is also found in carbonated drinks such as cola, Dr. Pepper®, Mountain Dew®, etc. To be sure which ones contain and which ones don't, look for caffeine in the ingredients list. You also need to avoid any food that uses coffee or chocolate as one of its ingredients such as baked goods (chocolate cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc), and desserts (chocolate pudding, mocha ice cream, chocolate syrups, etc). All these foods will contain caffeine.
Question
Does drinking coffee at the same time as taking a calcium supplement hinder the absorption of calcium? What are the guidelines/restrictions in taking calcium supplements with coffee?
Answer
It is well established that intake of caffeine causes calcium to be excreted. For every cup of coffee (equivalent to 150 mg of caffeine), approximately 5 mg of calcium is excreted in the urine. The research on the effects of caffeine on calcium absorption, however, is less conclusive at this time. When that is the case, we tend to err on the side of safety and advise avoiding the use of caffeine with calcium supplements. You may drink coffee at least half hour before or after you have taken your supplement. Don't forget that caffeine is also found in many foods other than coffee such as cola drinks, tea, chocolate, and some cold medication.
Question
What effect does caffeine consumption have on the absorption of vitamins and minerals?
Answer
Caffeine can increase the amount of calcium lost in the urine & feces. You can make up for the calcium lost by adding milk to your coffee or tea. Don't forget that caffeine can also be found in cola drinks, chocolate, cocoa, and some cold & pain relief medication. Caffeine may reduce the absorption of some minerals, such as manganese, zinc, & copper, as well as vitamins such as vitamin A & B complex.

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