When the “NCIS” poster girl for caffeine, Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), goes for yet another 36-ounce Caf Pow, chances are she’s exceeding the Food and Drug Administration-recommended limit of 400 mg of caffeine, or four to five cups of coffee daily. But she’s not alone: Folks are gobbling up lots of products that can fuel a caffeine overload.
In addition to coffee, water and chocolate with caffeine, we have caffeinated peanut butter, jellybeans, gummi bears, beef jerky, caramelized popcorn, potato chips, marshmallows, sunflower seeds and, yes, waffles and maple syrup. The problem? Seems no one knows the potential health risks that these treats-with-muscle pose, especially to children, who have easy access to such products. That’s why the FDA has asked the caffeinated food industry to step back.
We believe caffeine is risky for a child’s developing neurologic, osteopathic and cardiovascular systems. The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree. Yet 73 percent of kids already consume caffeine on a daily basis.
What can be done about the proliferation of caffeine-laced products? The food industry could show restraint. Really! Wrigley already pulled caffeinated gum off the market “out of respect for the FDA.” And the FDA is considering action: “We believe that some in the food industry are on a dubious, potentially dangerous path. If necessary, and if the science indicates that it is warranted, we are prepared to ... establish clear boundaries and conditions on caffeine use.”
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Before it comes to that, you need to avoid caffeine-enhanced products that are processed or have sugar added, and keep all of them away from kids.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.