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Biotech Science

Why It's So Hard To Predict How Caffeine Will Affect Your Body 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the mainlining-crushed-penguin-mints-is-not-the-best-plan dept.
carmendrahl writes "Emergency-room visits linked to caffeine-laden energy drinks are on the rise. This gives scientists who'd like to see caffeine regulated the jitters. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seems to be dragging its feet on regulating caffeine content in food and drink, because people have different sensitivities to it (abstract). Currently, caffeine-rich products like Monster Energy get around the rules because they're marketed as dietary supplements. 'Caffeine gets cleared from the body at different rates because of genetic variations, gender, and even whether a person is a smoker. For this reason, it’s difficult to set a safe limit of daily consumption on the compound. Physiological differences, as well as differences in the way people consume caffeine, have tied FDA in knots as it has debated how to regulate the substance. ... The toxic level in humans, about 10 g, is roughly the equivalent of imbibing 75 cups of brewed coffee (in 8-oz mugs) or 120 cans of Red Bull over a few hours. But that lethal limit can vary widely from person to person, experts say."
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Why It's So Hard To Predict How Caffeine Will Affect Your Body

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...caffeine will someday become a controlled substance after the prohibitionists finish up outlawing tobacco.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:47PM (#42789755) Homepage Journal
    Drag away. What they should be measuring is the amount of caffeine that is going into the water table from urine. At that point, it's actually affecting someone else, second hand, and may actually be appropriate to regulate.
  • Caffeine is a drug.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrbluze (1034940) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:47PM (#42789763) Journal
    The part about caffeine that is dangerous is that, like other stimulants, it gives the impression of improved brain performance without really delivering it. A fatigued person propped up with caffeine still makes mistakes related to fatigue. The other effects like jitters and palpitations is probably harmful to the heart in the long term also but it's less of a hazard to others.
    • by jittles (1613415) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:53PM (#42789855)
      It is, yes. But the FDA is definitely right that it affects people differently. I can drink a red bull, a monster, a coke, tea, or anything but coffee and easily take a long nap afterwards. Something about the caffeine I get through coffee is different. It actually makes me feel alert and awake. So is there some other chemical in coffee that increases the effectiveness of caffeine for me, or is the caffeine delivered differently? Does it have a slightly different composition? I don't know. But its a difference I can definitely feel.
      • by vlm (69642) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:00PM (#42789959)

        Gut clogging quantities of HFCS most likely. Unless you drip a quarter cup of corn syrup into your coffee as a control.
        The no-cal versions have vast quantities of strange sweeteners.

        If you want a real control, assuming you can still legally buy caffeine pills OTC (or maybe over the net) like Vivaran (sp?) you can simply pop pills equal to however many milligrams you'd like. Drink some water to wash it down and maintain hydration and its almost guaranteed to be healthier for your innards than the additives in either drink.

        Its rather telling WRT lethal dosages that they used to sell vivarin caffeine pills in 50 packs (implying you can chug them all and live) but sleep aid pills in 5 packs (implying more than a couple and you're dead). Then again they sell tylenol in 500 capsule buckets at sams club so maybe my theory doesn't apply.

        • by vlm (69642) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:08PM (#42790083)

          Whoops I forgot to mention that if a cup of raw corn syrup literally knocks you out despite the caffeine you might want to stop doing that until you mention it to your doctor who will probably order a glucose tolerance test to see if you have some insulin issues. That involves chugging a bottle of corn syrup with blood sugar level testing before and periodically after. Note that only an idiot would get official medical advice from /., but this was an accurate and true anecdotal summary of what my wife had to do (result in her case was nothing wrong with her).

        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:11PM (#42790127)

          Gut clogging quantities of HFCS most likely.

          Put this stupid myth to rest. There is no known reason for-- nor observed effect-- HFCS to be processed significantly differently in your body than straight up sucrose. In 1 of the 2 most common mixtures, it has 1% more glucose (better for you); in another it has 6% more fructose (a bit worse for you). Either way, its a wash, and chemically it has the exact same stuff that sucrose has, just already partly broken down into its constituent sugars (sucrose = glucose + fructose).

          Its seriously irritating that of all things for people to worry about, they quibble about WHAT KIND of sugar is being imbibed (which has negligible effect) rather than the amount. Its like wondering whether the lake you are drowning in is fresh or brackish, and what health effects that might have on you.

          • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic.gmail@com> on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:36PM (#42790501)

            Well, technically each of these sugars is metabolized somewhat differently, and uses up different amounts of B vitamins in the enzyme conversion chain. IANA biochemist but it takes, IIRC, two molecules of B-something to assist in the splitting of a sucrose molecule to its constituent frucose and glucose molecules, and so forth. I forget which vitamins are used where. So again, different people will be affected differently depending on your vitamin levels as well as your phenotype.

            Funny how these things go, it wasn't that long ago that you could buy fructose at the health food store, as a 'healthy alternative' to sucrose - coming from fruit and all.

            • Once again, the commonly touted sucrose is broken down in your body into what is basically an odd-ratio HFCS mix (Sucrose would become 50-50 glucose-fructose, while HFCS is usually 42-55 or 53-42 plus 3-5% "other sugars")

          • See below for correction, ratio was slightly off, but not by much.

          • by NatasRevol (731260) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:59PM (#42790839) Journal

            Not a myth. Actual observed effects.

            http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/03/24/2122231/high-fructose-corn-syrup-causes-bigger-weight-gain-in-rats [slashdot.org]

            In case you don't want to go click it, here's TFS:
            "In an experiment conducted by a Princeton University team, 'Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.' Long-term consumption also 'led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.' Psychology professor Bart Hoebel commented that 'When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.'"

          • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:10PM (#42791013)

            Put this stupid myth to rest.

            You mean the myth that using fructose in place of sucrose makes no difference?

            The simple fact that a simple sugar has already been broken down to a simple sugar means that it will flood the system much more quickly than a more complex sugar that needs to be converted before transport. If we don't need to pay attention to what the sugars are, then explain why cellulose (long chains of glucose) are indigestible, while simple glucose floods the system almost as soon as it is ingested.

            Yes, sir, the metabolic paths for glucose and fructose are different, and flooding the liver with massive amounts of fructose rapidly does result in a different effect than a slower appearance of glucose. The liver and endocrine systems need time to react to the influx of the sugars no matter what they are, so a rapidly appearing slug of one kind of sugar can easily overwhelm the regulatory mechanisms of the body and cause harm where a slower appearance of a different sugar does not. That harm may only be an unnecessary conversion of sugars to glycogen and fat, but in the long term that results in obesity and that can be harmful.

            You're talking to a diabetic who has monitored his blood sugar for years through all kinds of experiments with different sugars, who can tell you that the "glycemic index" and "sugar alcohols" information is a truly dangerous myth, along with the sugar industry shills telling us that there is no danger from HFCS. Yes, you're right that cutting sugar overall is a good thing, but trying to claim that if you are going to down a sugar laden drink that it makes no difference is just parroting the sugar industry media flacks. You'd point to data denying global warming or the link between smoking and cancer as being from an industry source, why are you so quick to accept data from the sugar industry?

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:45PM (#42790627) Homepage

          "The no-cal versions have vast quantities of strange sweeteners."

          Really? My sugar free coffee every morning has none of those. What twisted person would defile the holy coffee by adding anything to it?

        • by dissy (172727)

          ... assuming you can still legally buy caffeine pills OTC (or maybe over the net) like Vivaran (sp?) ...

          One of my favorite health food stores sells pure powdered caffeine in bulk.
          $13 for a half ounce (smallest increment) up to $300 for a kilogram (Largest increment as far as price breaks go)

          That same health food store also sells empty gellotin capsules with which pure caffeine pills can be made, without all the stomach churning effects from the rest of the commercial "energy blends"

          There is a huge market for caffeine, and anything the FDA could end up doing is only going to make matters worse, just like ever

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:11PM (#42790133)

        Placebo effect maybe?
        Asking this because I used to play a prank to a friend of mine whenever he came for dinner: He always complained about being unable to fall asleep after drinking coffee, so since we all drank coffee after dinner I started giving him decaf without him knowing.
        Guess what, when asked the day after or a couple of days later he would say that he had difficulty falling asleep with decaf as well... Well, he didn't knew it was decaf.
        After a couple of repeats I finally told him that we were giving him decaf.... and I switch, started giving him coffee again. You got it, when asked he would say that he didn't had any problem falling asleep.

        But then again, it may not be the case with you.

        • Just remember that even decaf can have as much as 1/3 of the caffeine content remaining. Filtering the caffeine out is a bit tricky process.

          Still, it is very well possible that your friend indeed experienced a placebo effect, as you said.

        • by Dogtanian (588974)
          I was staying at someone's house, and after a few cups of instant coffee I remember realising that I wasn't anywhere near as uptight as I'd normally feel having drunk that many.

          It was only *after* this that I noticed it was a jar of decaffeinated coffee (and the possibility hadn't occurred to me beforehand, as I never normally drink the stuff).
      • by nabsltd (1313397) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:09PM (#42790993)

        I can drink a red bull, a monster, a coke, tea, or anything but coffee and easily take a long nap afterwards. Something about the caffeine I get through coffee is different.

        Depending on how it is prepared, coffee can have more caffeine than Red Bull, and definitely has more than Coca-Cola and the vast majority of teas. See this table [wikipedia.org] for details.

        You can also do some searching and see that the "caffeine" in various substances isn't always the real thing, but instead is closely related compounds.

      • by anagama (611277)

        I can drink a red bull, a monster, a coke, tea, or anything but coffee and easily take a long nap afterwards. Something about the caffeine I get through coffee is different. It actually makes me feel alert and awake.

        I used to drink tons of coffee and lattes -- it's a nice to thing to drink here in the Pacific NW because our weather and hot drinks go perfectly together. I drank it because I like the way it tastes, but it never woke me up in the morning or kept me awake at night. I'd make myself a latte ju

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:34PM (#42790471)

      The part about caffeine that is dangerous is that, like other stimulants, it gives the impression of improved brain performance without really delivering it.

      That's not true for all drugs. For example, ethanol intake makes me funnier, smarter, stronger, and sexier.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        That's not true for all drugs. For example, ethanol intake makes me funnier, smarter, stronger, and sexier.

        And I've noticed exactly the opposite. When I intake ethanol you are dumber and uglier. The effect is, of course, gender specific and not all effects occur, since most women get prettier the more I drink. Not smarter.

    • by hierophanta (1345511) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:00PM (#42790857)
      This is actually scientifically not true. Caffeine affects us by blocking the chemicals that make us tired. As a result we are not only feeling more awake, but actually are more awake. The crash that occurs is because the chemicals that have been blocked thus far, are in a waiting pattern until their blockage disappears after which they flood the receptors. I do agree though, there is a good amount for false positive when it comes to perceived performance though.
    • by zebadee (551743) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:25PM (#42792427) Homepage

      The other effects like jitters and palpitations is probably harmful to the heart in the long term

      Caffeine (at high) doses can cause heart problems much more acutely. We have shown that 0.3mM caffeine (equivalent to ~2.3g*) can modify the activity of a protein in the heart sufficiently to mimic the effect of herditary mutations capable of causing fatal arrhythmias and that effect is quick (within mins). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18518861 [nih.gov]

      *Based on an average water volume of a 70kg man = 40L, caffeine = 194g/mole and all caffeine being absorbed.

  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:49PM (#42789795)

    Caffeine gets cleared from the body at different rates because of genetic variations, gender, and even whether a person is a smoker.

    ...Isn't that true for most substances?

    • Yes, to varying degrees, but a lot of substances have fairly predictable half-lives in the body.

    • by Shoten (260439)

      What's most true about most substances and also caffeine is "that lethal limit can vary widely from person to person." Yeah, that's true of most things; hence the standard measure of toxicity for anything is called "LD50," which stands for "lethal dose, 50%". It's the dosage in mass of substance/kg of body weight that will kill 50% of people who ingest/breathe/snort/whatever it. So why this is some kind of huge challenge is beyond me. For some substances the deviation from LD50 is smaller (botulinus tox

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        "Settle down Bob, this will all be over soon. There's no sense trying to chew through the duct tape; I used too much of it for you to be able to get away."

        Sorry, your data has been contaminated by the lethal effects of the adhesive on the back of duct tape. The LD50 is pretty small, I know, since it takes very little duct tape when applied to cover the nose and mouth of a person to make them a statistic. At least in my experience.

    • It is.

      According to my Physiology/Pharmacology textbook, the half-life of caffeine is 3-7 hours, though. Most drugs are cleared from the body at different rates depending on the person, but you can figure out a typical half-life range fairly easily. I don't know why the writer of this article ignored that (unless they just didn't bother to research it any more or thought that it complicated the article more than necessary).

  • Makes me want to puke.

    Although being a coffee addict myself I never tried a single can of "power" or "energy" drinks, just because the smell is so distinct, yuck!

    Cougar Boost anybody? /American Dad

  • Mr Anecdotal here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:54PM (#42789873)
    Some caffeine from Green Tea keeps me programming, driving, studying, etc. Red Bull makes me wound up and literally makes my heart skip a beat every now and then. Straight caffeine pills just knock me out and a few hours later make me angry. So needless to say I limit myself to occasional green teas. (Matcha!)

    If my wife has a coffee after 6pm she will have trouble sleeping that night.

    My brothers can't operate with much less than 5+ cups of strong coffee per day.

    So needless to say within my reach are a pretty wide set of reactions to caffeine. The drug I would love to see studied even more is Chocolate.
    • Some caffeine from Green Tea keeps me programming, driving, studying, etc. Red Bull makes me wound up and literally makes my heart skip a beat every now and then. Straight caffeine pills just knock me out and a few hours later make me angry. So needless to say I limit myself to occasional green teas. (Matcha!)

      Red Bull has other stuff (like taurine) besides caffeine that might be the cause. The green tea making (do you have rituals?) might be part of what helps you keep going as well.

      If my wife has a coffee after 6pm she will have trouble sleeping that night.

      Do a controlled test. Give her a decafe, but don't tell her it's decafe. As normal, see if it affects her. Proper double blind tests have shown that students (it's always students because they are cheap) act as if decafe has caffeine, but that warm milk laced with caffeine is just warm milk (and thus helps them sleep).

      My brothers can't operate with much less than 5+ cups of strong coffee per day.

      Suggest that th

    • The tannins in the tea slow down and stretch in time the caffeine absorption so instead of a rush you get a very mild, but prolonged high. Well, then again, Gyokuro is still pretty strong stuff.

  • Since I've become an adult with habitual patterns, I've been able to tangibly gauge the effects of caffeine on my mind and I'm not entirely sure that young people, what with all the other natural chemicals raging through their body, are able to do the same.

    I'm a person that's tangibly sensitive to the effects of caffeine. For me, a single morning cup of coffee can immediately waken me to the point where I'd be if I naturally allowed myself that one hour transition from waking to working. However, a second
    • Well, I envy you. I haven't felt any effect from coffee in ages (I literally cannot remember if it ever affected me) and I can easily go to sleep after a strong cup of coffee. I may have to try significantly higher dosages but I don't really like the idea. Having a substance as easily available as coffee actually keep you awake must be awesome...

      • by urbanriot (924981)
        Yea, I've heard the same from friends, that they can sleep after a cup of coffee and I found that bizarre. I suppose these differing experiences lends credence to the linked article. My experience with caffeine has remained the same for as long as I can remember, at least since my mid 20's. Too much coffee has a visible effect on me.
        • by jbengt (874751)
          I used to be able to sleep after drinking coffee, but now, maybe because I'm getting old, I have trouble falling asleep if I drink it after 5:00 pm.
      • by clifyt (11768)

        Too much coffee makes me fall asleep too.

        I also have ADHD and stimulants have what they call a paradoxical effect with someone with true ADHD. Your brain can focus for once and you can put your brain to sleep. Your body might not be having much of it...its an horrible achy sleep, but I can sleep.

        However, at about 8 shots in an ice coffee, it starts to turn around...I've learned this the hard way...

    • by PRMan (959735)
      The same for me. I have a strong iced tea in the morning and then a coke at lunch. That keeps me going. Without them, I really don't do well mentally. This is down from 4 cokes, so I have really tried to cut it back to the minimum, but I just can't do less than that and still function.
  • Toxic level (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:54PM (#42789881)

    The toxic level in humans, about 10 g, is roughly the equivalent of imbibing 75 cups of brewed coffee (in 8-oz mugs) or 120 cans of Red Bull over a few hours.

    According to the eminent Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], that's the LD50 (150 to 200 mg/kg).
    If you gave an average group of humans 10g of caffeine, half of them would die.

    Now LD50 is a way to measure of toxicity, but I think it's fair to assume that a substance is toxic well below the lethal dose.

    • by MiniMike (234881) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:01PM (#42789981)

      According to the eminent Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], that's the LD50 (150 to 200 mg/kg).
      If you gave an average group of humans 10g of caffeine, half of them would die.

      But you wouldn't know which ones for a few hours...

    • by vlm (69642)

      I think it's fair to assume that a substance is toxic well below the lethal dose.

      Careful, there's a lot of stuff like water, salt (at least WRT about 90% of the population), water soluble vitamins, minerals, and "food" in general where that doesn't even remotely apply.

      • by dissy (172727)

        I think it's fair to assume that a substance is toxic well below the lethal dose.

        Careful, there's a lot of stuff like water *snip*

        Careful now, we shouldn't underestimate the lethal dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide!

        After all, it's shown to "mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters"

        We should all be very concerned about this dangerous substance!

        -- dhmo.org forever

    • I think it's fair to assume that a substance is toxic well below the lethal dose.

      The substance is toxic, period, regardless of dose. In fact, virtually anything, when given in high enough quantities, can be dangerous to humans. As most of us know, it's perfectly possible to die from water poisoning [joystiq.com].

      So, yes, caffeine is toxic to people even in lower dosages. It's also potentially dangerous to people in lower dosages, but as a measure of toxicity, we can take the LD50 as an indication that, in this case, most people would need to consume far more than they could ever reasonably be expecte

      • by Alomex (148003)

        The substance is toxic, period, regardless of dose.

        Adding the word period doesn't make a statement true. Caffeine in low dosages has almost no side effects. In fact it is unique among the behavior altering drugs in that regard. There are even highly respected medical researchers at NIH trying to use it as a vehicle to deliver medicinal drugs to the body since it is one of the mildest substances known to reach deep into the CNS system.

        Need more proof about how mild is caffeine? It is given to preemie babies as a stimulant [washingtonpost.com] for chrissakes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:56PM (#42789913)

    that would measure the effect on the subject, rather than physiological measures.

    Give the subject some simple tasks and ask him or her to solve the problem using Perl. Check back after two hours:

    - less than 50 Perl LOC: not enough caffeine
    - 50 - 500 Perl LOC: just enough caffeine
    - more than 500 Perl LOC: too much caffeine

  • I can see the problems they are having with regulation. They got the important part at least with getting rid of alcoholic energy drinks. The Idiots mixing Alcohol and Energy drinks now have to do it on their own. Selling it at a store already mixed gives people a false sense of safety. Whoever thought of mixing a Red Bull or Coffee with alcohol was a moron. Things like Red Bull and Coffee have too little caffeine unless you're sensitive. I think their real issue should be with things like 5 hour energy whe
  • The FDA _should_ keep dragging its collective feet, because there are MANY more dangerous things that should be targeted first, alcohol being number one on that list. My guess is that the main reason there are so many people going to hospitals with caffeine-related symptoms is because this country is overloaded with obese people who have heart conditions. This is just another instance of natural selection.

    Caffeine's deadly effects are already well-known, it's called "LD50", like many other substances that

    • Ephedra... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:36PM (#42791345) Homepage

      Ephedra disappeared from the market because of negative press coverage of several stupid athletes who abused it.

      Personally, I think that the War on Drugs had a lot more to do with that. Ephedra (and the active alkaloid, ephedrine) can be used as precursors for methamphetamine manufacture. The FDA yanked ephedra and ephedrine products about the same time that the DEA rammed through the laws requiring you to put your name into a federal database to buy a package of cold/allergy pills.

  • by fantomas (94850) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:08PM (#42790073)

    From the summary: "Caffeine gets cleared from the body at different rates because of genetic variations, gender, and even whether a person is a smoker."

    - isn't this also true of alcohol? Any slashdot readers with a bit of medical knowledge help me understand the difference between how the body processes the two different substances?

    • by Talennor (612270)

      Difference: Current US regulation: you must clearly state the amount of alcohol in any canned/bottled/whatever drink.

      • by PRMan (959735)
        So, then, a GREAT first step would be to require companies to label how much caffeine is in their product, so we can have a relative scale.
      • by dbet (1607261)
        Hmm. I have a Yuengling lager in my hand, made and consumed in the U.S., and there is no stated alcohol percent anywhere on it. Maybe it's on the case? Don't know.
    • by medv4380 (1604309)
      They are both very different chemically. People who are sensitive to Caffeine might not be sensitive to alcohol. Caffeine was mostly a black box up until the last 5 years. It works by messing with a couple of hormones, Estrogen and something else that I can't remember along with who knows what else. It is a stimulant so it wires you up. Alcohol on the other hand works with different hormones, testosterone being one of them. It also impedes the brain as a depressant. Even though you see that they are similar
  • Every drug affects every user individually, and to further confound things, the effects often vary in the individual user from one dose to the next. Alcohol, marijuana, Advil, and opiates are each subject to personal efficacy variables such as frequency of use, innate tolerance, mood, sleep patterns, amount of food ingested, and undoubtedly many more. This is the very thing that separates the thinking man from the drug abuser. I don't need to be told via a County burn ban not to burn trash when it hasn't
  • How? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ak3ldama (554026) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {amadleka_semaj}> on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:21PM (#42790317) Homepage Journal

    How can they regulate this? You can go to almost any grocery/goods store and buy a 33 ounch can of ground coffee. They would surely let you buy as many of these as you wish to. Since a bunch of stupid white kids drink monsters too fast they now need to pursue regulation of it? Really? I know, maybe they should pass a law stating that energy drinks cannot taste better than coffee so as to damper the enthusiam with which these drinks are imbibed. Dumb.

    Caveat of my own stupidity: While in the dorms one weekend night I drank two pots of coffee in a relatively short span of time. What would that be? Maybe 2x 6x cups of coffee? So somewhere around 1200mg or so? Anyways my stomach hurt, my head kinda spun, and my legs twitched a little as I laid in bed wondering when I would fall asleep. I learned from that to take it easy.

  • Why doesn't the FDA do like any other governmental or lawmaking entity does and write the laws to the weakest denominator and make everybody else suffer?

  • I hope the hacker community has grown out of the old culture of everyone robotically drinking coffee and caffeinated sodas. Sometimes at workplace it's sad to see someone churning code and a huge pile of empty energy drink cans aside him. Like, is this some kind of tough profession through which you have to be constantly mildly drugged to cope. Slightly disgusting.
  • I'm not so sure regulate is even the right word. They might make a recommendation for maximum daily allowance, but unless they're going to make it a federally controlled substance (i.e. on par with cocaine), the FDA will in fact have no degree of control - or "regulation" if you will - over people's personal intake. Even alcoholic beverages are not "regulated" for quantity of consumption. They may charge a tax on it... they may make a test that measures how much is too much when operating a vehicle... but t
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:49PM (#42790693) Homepage

    I see the fake programmers try and use coffee every day to code faster. What a bunch of noobs. Anyone that is a true pro already knows that Cocaine is the one true way to get that project done on time and with GENIUS level code.

  • For Christs sakes just read the fucking studies. Almost everything about Caffeine is good... The ONLY long-term down side of caffeine is a suspected slight increase risk in ovarian and breast cancer. They of course have no proof of this, and it's only suspected because caffeine leads to the fluctuation of plasma sex hormones and SHBG in women. But there are no studies that have shown it actually leads to any sort of increase in cancer risk.

    If you look at the collective research on caffeine it actually reduc

  • "The toxic level in humans, about 10 g, is roughly the equivalent of imbibing 75 cups of brewed coffee (in 8-oz mugs) or 120 cans of Red Bull over a few hours."

    Is that 75 cups of US coffee or real coffee like we drink in the rest of the world?

    • It completely depends upon location and brew. Cuban and Turkish coffee are closer to rocket fuel than traditional medium roast coffee, and have differing amounts of caffeine in them.

      ...and you can't say "the rest of the world" without giving a country. Almost every country has its own method of preparation. Even differing parts of the US have different preparation methods (New Orleans vs. Miami, for example).

  • There is coffee out there that has as much naturally-occurring caffeine in it as many energy drinks. If you're going to start regulating caffeine content in any sort of drinks, then you have to do it for coffee as well. That is why it won't be done, and that's why it hasn't already been done: nobody is going to screw with coffee.

    Leave energy drinks alone. The number of people having serious problems because of them aren't that many, and the ones who do are being excessively stupid about their consumption o
  • by nblender (741424)

    About 6 years ago I worked at a place that had a bitchin' espresso machine. I became a sort of self-taught Barista and my coffee intake went up significantly... Then I changed jobs and lost access to the Espresso machine. I was drinking black tea during the day then.. Suddenly one day my heart started racing at 240bpm... It did so for about 15 minutes and then stopped. Saw a doctor and it happened several times but the doctor said they needed to catch it in progress. We never did catch it so doctor too

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      You know, that's a heartwarming story about how you decided to continue to use a substance that could potentially kill you :-P
  • A lot of those big-can drinks are more than a single serving, presumably to let them load the caffeine beyond the maximum allowed by law. So even if the consumer is savvy enough to check the label for caffeine dosage they might not notice the serving size and forget to multiply the dose by serving if they're planning to drink the whole can. If you're doing multiple cans a day, it starts to get easy to see why we're having a problem with it now despite a couple of centuries of coffee abuse (Grandpa used to d
  • by russotto (537200) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:26PM (#42792441) Journal
    You thought the protests against SOPA and PIPA were bad? Move against caffeine and they'll look like a walk in the park. It's not just geeks: pretty much every white collar profession (and more than a few blue collar ones) runs on caffeine. That includes lawyers and lobbyists. Just put the Federal Register down and back away slowly.

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