Wednesday, May 05, 2004

um, i wanna disagree here. . .

"caffeine intake by teenagers is associated with increased blood pressure in some adolescents."

naturally my inbox is overflowing with reports of this study. thank you, dear readers, for thinking of me. however, i wouldn't be so concerned.

as the headline on the most common version of this story is rather alarmist, we think the headline editor unfairly targets coffee over the real problem: sugar-water peddled by anorexic pop stars in too little clothing.

yes, a large number of students and teens enjoy a vanilla latte (which they can easily have as decaf) at their local coffeehouse. and for teen girls, it's a blessing, because it may be their only daily source of milk and hence calcium, which is so important to prevent osteoporosis in later life.

however, the one or two ounces of coffee in those lattes do not come near introducing the amount of caffeine you find in the endless 42oz.(!) super-sized sodas many americans, children, teens and adults alike, carry with them constantly.

[let's say 10oz. of that super-size thing is ice. that's 32oz. soft drink at about 45mg. of caffeine per 12 oz., or about 120 mg caffeine. teen boys drink about 2.5 such servings day, according to some authorities.

your properly-made 6 oz. cup of coffee, meanwhile, only averages about 105 mg., making it at worst an even draw with soft drinks, unlike what the above upi headline and story would lead you to believe. we won't even mention the sugar issue here. . .]

as one expert says: "many teens are drowning in soda pop. it's become their main beverage, providing many with 15% to 20% of all their calories and squeezing out more-nutritious foods and beverages from their diets."

while sugar-free, decaf soda can be found at the supermarket, it's not commonly seen in the fast-food places, quick-marts, or vending machines where many teens purchase beverages.

not to mention that the effects of caffeine on hypertension/blood pressue definitely appear overstated in this latest report; previous studies have found no such dire outcomes (please see question 2 here).

we here at bccy still encourage moderation in coffee drinking. altho' science has shown some benefit for men in drinking larger amounts of coffee, i still firmly believe most women and teenagers should stick to 2 or 3 6-oz. cups of coffee a day.

in fact, since decaf coffee taste quality continues to slowly improve, i would even suggest having 2 cups with breakfast, and a nice cup of decaf in the afternoon or after dinner.

the key there is nice. why do people consume soda endlessly? a nervous habit? thirst? isn't it rather, i argue, a lack of satisfaction? these soft drinks offer you nothing satisfying, just empty calories.

i truly believe anyone would be more satisfied with two 5 or 6-oz. cups of perfect, fresh, specialty coffee, properly brewed, and served with 2 teaspoonfuls of light cream and a pinch of turbinado sugar than with a titanic silo of overly sweetened fizz.

try running over to your local neigborhood independent coffeehouse, roaster/retailer, or bean store, and asking for some european (a.k.a. "direct method") decaf for afternoon drinking. or consider asking for decaf in your latte.

you might surprised at how much you like it! and if you're really concerned about how much caffeine your family members drink, try slowly phasing in more decaf. . .the fabulous oren suggests blending european decaf sumatra with european decaf colombian for a satisfying cup!

"try 1/3 sumatra and 2/3 colombian, or 50/50 if you like more body," he recommends. since we here at bccy love body, we'd start with that. . .

posted by fortune | 10:53 AM | top | link to this | email this: | | | 0 comments