How Much Caffeine Is There In Popular Soft Drinks?

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[Junk Food]
[Science]
Two scientists with Auburn University's Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Chou and Bell have pulled out the fancy-schmancy liquid chormatographer and decided to answer this question.

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that is added as an ingredient to various carbonated soft drinks. Due to its stimulatory and other physiological effects, individuals desire to know the exact amount of caffeine consumed from these beverages. This study analyzed the caffeine contents of 56 national-brand and 75 private-label store-brand carbonated beverages using high-performance liquid chromatography. Caffeine contents ranged from 4.9 mg/12 oz (IGA Cola) to 74 mg/12 oz (Vault Zero). Some of the more common national-brand carbonated beverages analyzed in this study with their caffeine contents were Coca-Cola (33.9 mg/12 oz), Diet Coke (46.3 mg/12 oz), Pepsi (38.9 mg/12 oz), Diet Pepsi (36.7 mg/12 oz), Dr Pepper (42.6 mg/12 oz), Diet Dr Pepper (44.1 mg/12 oz), Mountain Dew (54.8 mg/12 oz), and Diet Mountain Dew (55.2 mg/12 oz). The Wal-Mart store-brand beverages with their caffeine contents were Sam's Cola (12.7 mg/12 oz), Sam's Diet Cola (13.3 mg/12 oz), Dr Thunder (30.6 mg/12 oz), Diet Dr Thunder (29.9 mg/12 oz), and Mountain Lightning (46.5 mg/12 oz). Beverages from 14 other stores were also analyzed. Most store-brand carbonated beverages were found to contain less caffeine than their national-brand counterparts. The wide range of caffeine contents in carbonated beverages indicates that consumers would benefit from the placement of caffeine values on food labels.

Caffeine, 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, is an odorless, slightly bitter substance found in numerous plant species (Tarka and Hurst 1998). Extracts derived from these plants, such as coffee and tea beverages, naturally contain caffeine and other methylxanthines. Caffeine is intentionally added as an ingredient to many carbonated soft drinks, including colas, pepper-type beverages, and citrus beverages. Although soda manufacturers may explain that caffeine contributes to the flavor of soft drinks, only 8% of adults were able to differentiate between caffeinated and caffeine-free colas at the concentration of caffeine contained in most cola beverages. These beverages appeal to many consumers because of the stimulatory effect caffeine provides.

Caffeine has drawn more attention in the past decades due to its widespread consumption and physiological effects beyond that of its stimulatory effect. Caffeine is quickly absorbed by the body. The human salivary caffeine level, which indicates the extent of absorption, peaks around 40 min after caffeine consumption. Various physiological effects on the central nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and renal systems have been reported. For example, Hartley and others (2004) reported that caffeine causes a mild elevation in blood pressure. In addition, caffeine's diuretic effect is widely known.

Various governmental bodies have specified the maximum level of caffeine allowed in carbonated beverages. The U.S. Food and Drug Admin. limits the amount of caffeine in carbonated beverages to a maximum of 0.02% (FDA 2006). Therefore, the highest legal amount of caffeine allowed in a 355 mL (12 oz) can of soft drink is about 72 mg. Likewise, Canada limits caffeine to cola-type beverages at a level of 200 ppm or about 71 mg/12 oz (Dept. of Justice 2007). In Australia, the maximum caffeine level in cola-type beverages must not exceed 145 mg/kg or about 51 mg/12 oz while in New Zealand, the caffeine level is limited to 200 mg/kg or about 71 mg/12 oz.

National-brand colas

The caffeine contents of this group ranged from 10.3 to 57.1 mg/12 oz. The highest value (57.1 mg/12 oz) was found in Pepsi One. Except for the lower caffeine contents of Ritz Cola and Red Rock Cola and the higher caffeine content of Pepsi One, the remaining samples contained 33.3 to 48.1 mg caffeine/12 oz. The caffeine values of some national-brand colas (Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, and Diet Pepsi) were 13% to 20% higher than determined 10 y ago. Caffeine values for Tab, RC Cola, and Shasta Cola were similar to those reported previously. The caffeine values determined in this study were consistent with the available manufacturer data. However, the USDA nutrient database gave an average caffeine content of 29 mg/12 oz beverage for regular cola products (USDA 2006), which was lower than most of the values determined in the present study. For diet cola products, the USDA gave an average caffeine content of 43 mg/12 oz, which also does not adequately represent the range of caffeine values.

National-brand pepper-type beverages

All samples in this group contained similar caffeine contents, with values ranging from 39.4 to 44.1 mg/12 oz. These caffeine values were similar to those of national-brand pepper-type beverages determined previously, as well as data on the available manufacturer websites. The USDA nutrient database gave an average caffeine content of 43 mg/12 oz for diet pepper-type beverages (USDA 2006), which is consistent with the current data. On the other hand, the database gave an average caffeine content of 37 mg/12 oz for regular pepper products (USDA 2006), which is slightly lower than the values determined in this study.

National-brand citrus beverages

The caffeine contents of this group ranged from 19.7 to 74.0 mg/12 oz. The greatest caffeine content (74.0 mg/12 oz) was found in Vault Zero. Except for the lowest caffeine content of Faygo Moon Mist (19.7 mg/12 oz), the other beverages contained more than 49 mg caffeine per 12 oz. These data were consistent with the available caffeine data from manufacturer websites. The caffeine contents of regular and diet Mountain Dew and Mello Yello from the present study and those from Grand and Bell (1997) were also similar. The USDA nutrient database gave an average caffeine content of 55 mg/12 oz beverage for regular caffeinated lemon-lime beverages (USDA 2006). For the purpose of this study, it is assumed that the lemon-lime caffeinated beverage classification by USDA refers to regular citrus products because there is no other carbonated citrus beverage category.

Another USDA classification (carbonated beverage, low calorie, other than cola or pepper, with aspartame, contains caffeine) could include diet citrus beverages; this beverage category had an average caffeine level of 53 mg/12 oz (USDA 2006). Five out of 10 national-brand citrus products were found to be similar to the data from USDA. The other 5 citrus products were quite different from that in the USDA database. The caffeine contents of regular and diet SunDrop as well as Vault Citrus and Vault Zero were 17% to 34% greater than the values listed by USDA. For the citrus beverages, it was challenging to determine which USDA category was appropriate to use. Clearer descriptions of database categories would reduce this ambiguity.

Miscellaneous national-brand beverages

The caffeine content of Big Red (34.0 mg/12 oz) was similar to the majority of national-brand cola beverages. The USDA nutrient database gave no caffeine content for carbonated orange products (USDA 2006), but the regular and diet Sunkist beverages were found to contain 40.6 and 41.5 mg caffeine per 12 oz, respectively. In addition, the USDA nutrient database gave no caffeine content for root beer or cream soda products (USDA 2006). However, caffeine contents of 22.4 and 28.6 mg/12 oz were found in Barq's Root Beer and A & W Cream Soda, respectively. The USDA caffeine values for these beverage categories are inaccurate based on both current and previous data. Because these products may or may not contain caffeine, careful evaluation of the product's ingredient list is advised.

Private-label store-brand colas

The caffeine contents of regular colas ranged from 4.9 mg (IGA Cola) to 46.4 mg (Rite Aid's Big Fizz Cola) caffeine per 12 oz. The caffeine contents of diet colas ranged from 10.3 mg (IGA Diet Cola) to 61.9 mg (Rite Aid's Big Fizz Diet Cola) caffeine per 12 oz. The range of caffeine contents of this group was unlike the spread of national-brand colas, being much wider. Big Fizz Diet Cola contained more caffeine than any cola product, national or store brand; many other store brands contained less than 20 mg caffeine per 12 oz. Because of the large caffeine content range of these products, it is difficult to generalize the amount of caffeine being consumed from such products.

Big K Cola was found to contain 38.8 mg caffeine/12 oz, which is over 600% higher than the value of 5.2 mg caffeine/12 oz, reported 10 y ago by Grand and Bell (1997). Similarly, Chek Cola contained 29% more caffeine in this study (34.7 mg/12 oz) than that reported previously (27.0 mg/12 oz) by Grand and Bell (1997). These products have clearly been reformulated over the past decade. The USDA nutrient database gave average caffeine contents of 29 and 43 mg/12 oz beverage for regular and diet cola products, respectively (USDA 2006). However, the USDA database is impractical to use due to the wide range of caffeine values in private-label store-brand colas (4.9 to 61.9 mg/12 oz).

Private-label store-brand pepper-type beverages

The caffeine contents of this group ranged from 18.2 to 59.8 mg/12 oz. The lowest and highest caffeine concentrations were found in Ingle's Diet Dr Lynn and Dr IGA, respectively. The caffeine contents of the samples were distributed evenly within this range. The distribution of this group was different from national pepper-type beverages, all of which contained around 40 mg caffeine per 12 oz. Dr IGA was found to contain more caffeine than any pepper-type beverage, national or store-brand, while several store-brand beverages contained less than half the caffeine of the national-brand products. The caffeine contents of Kroger's regular and diet Dr K were much higher (> 150%) than those analyzed by Grand and Bell (1997), indicating that the products have been reformulated. Similarly, the caffeine content of Winn-Dixie's Dr Chek analyzed in the present study was 33% higher than that reported previously. The USDA nutrient database gave average caffeine contents of 37 and 43 mg/12 oz for regular and diet pepper-type drinks, respectively, which again does not adequately represent the wide distribution of the current results.
Private-label store-brand citrus beverages

The caffeine contents of 16 private-label store-brand citrus beverages are also reported in Table 6. The caffeine contents of this group ranged from 25.1 to 55.1 mg/12 oz. The lowest and highest caffeine concentrations were found in Kroger's Big K Diet Citrus Drop and Winn-Dixie's Chek Kountry Mist, respectively. Ten beverages within this group contained over 50 mg caffeine per 12 oz. The USDA nutrient database gave an average caffeine content of 55 mg/12 oz for lemon-lime (citrus) products (USDA 2006). Most of this group's results were similar to the value from USDA. Kroger's Big K products contained approximately half the caffeine of the value listed by USDA. The amounts of caffeine existing in Chek Kountry Mist, Sam's Mountain Lightning (from Wal-Mart), Big K Citrus Drop, and Big K Diet Citrus Drop were similar to the values reported by Grand and Bell (1997).

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What about caffeine in coffee?

 

Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-24 21:47:41
how much f*cking caffine is there in mtn Lightning!
cool page
Posted by cool on 2011-05-10 23:55:52
this page is cool it tells you more information about what are you looking for
cool
Posted by rosa on 2011-05-10 23:58:38
i was need this imformation wooooo that is alot caffeine well i thing im going to be awake for along time
 

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