Caffeinated tea and coffee have been linked to some health benefits, such as lowering risk of skin and liver cancers, but caffeine also has some downsides.
Some people are more sensitive than others and in addition to jitters, it can deplete sleep quality, especially in those over 40, and amp up anxiety. It’s also addictive.
If you’re looking to limit your caffeine intake, it’s important to know what products contain the stimulant, and that’s not always obvious.
For comparison, an 8-ounce cup of brewed caffeinated coffee has 100 mg to 200 mg of caffeine, depending on the kind, and a 1-ounce shot of espresso has just 40 mg to 75 mg, about the same as a cup of tea.
Here are some hidden sources of caffeine:
1. Energy drinks: Why do energy drinks perk you up? A lot of them rely at least in part on caffeine. A 12-ounce can of Red Bull has 111 mg of caffeine; 5-Hour Energy delivers 207 mg in just 1.93 ounces; and Vitamin Water Energy Tropical Citrus has 50 mg in 20 ounces.2. Decaf coffee: It’s a far cry from regular coffee, but a cup will still give you about 5 mg of caffeine.3. Iced tea: Sometimes we don’t really think of those peach- and raspberry-flavored sweetened iced teas as having caffeine, but they do. Snapple in lemon, peach and raspberry flavors, for example, has 42 mg per 16-ounce serving.4. Coffee ice cream: In a half-cup serving, Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch delivers 42 mg of caffeine, while Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt have 29 mg.5. Non-cola sodas: If you think cola is the only soda with caffeine, think again. Per 12-ounce serving, Sunkist Orange Soda has 41 mg; Mountain Dew has 54 mg; and Barq’s Root Beer has 22 mg. (Most other brands of root beer are caffeine-free.)6. Chocolate: Most chocolate-flavored products that have some trace of cocoa powder in them also have caffeine. Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast has 9 mg of caffeine per packet. A mug of hot cocoa also has about 9 mg of caffeine.7. Painkillers: Some over-the-counter drugs contain caffeine in significant doses. Excedrin (Extra Strength) and Anacin (Maximum Strength) deliver 130 mg and 64 mg per two tablets, respectively.