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2/16/2011

The Difference Between Artificial & Natural Caffeine


Not all caffeine is made equally!  There is both naturally occurring caffeine and synthetic.  What is the difference you ask? Let’s find out.. 

Caffeine (some of us like to say “the nectar from the heavens”) is naturally found in over 60 plants and fruits. The most common natural sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, guarana and cocoa. 

Although the amount of caffeine varies according to brand and method of preparation, coffee is, without a doubt, one of the most popular natural sources of caffeine.
Cocoa is one of the healthiest natural sources of caffeine. A super-concentrated... one-ounce dark chocolate square contains about 25 mg of caffeine. 

Two South American plants- Yerba Mate and Guarana- have recently become known around the world. Guarana is a popular soft drink in Brazil, but in the rest of the world, it is basically used as an add-on to energy drinks. Guarana contains more milligrams of caffeine per ounce than coffee does. A typical energy drink made with guarana can contain as much as 259 mg of caffeine!
Yerba mate is one of the most popular natural sources of caffeine in subtropical South America, especially Argentina and Paraguay. Yerba mate leaves can be used to make an infusion that resembles green tea, although much stronger. It has about 50 mg of caffeine per six-ounce cup. 

Lets talk about synthetic caffeine.  It is well… everything else that is not found in nature but instead produced in a factory, usually India or China. It is a white powdery substance that is found in many drinks from Coca-Cola, Redbull to caffeine-infused vodka. This synthetic caffeine has one advantage over natural caffeine: it is extremely potent.  
Synthetic caffeine will give you a similar “buzz” as natural caffeine, but your body has a more difficult time breaking it down because it does not recognize it as a natural substance. Over years of excessive, consumption can lead to liver and kidney problems.   Synthetic caffeine hits your nervous system immediately after hitting your stomach and will result in a much more major inevitable crash a few hours later. Natural caffeine takes a little longer to be absorbed in the body, will stay in your body longer increasing mental clarity, and then eventually wear off gradually. 

Some people swear that they just can’t get out of bed without their caffeine.  This is true- it is highly addictive and habit forming. If you need caffeine- our vote is to just stay with the organic stuff.  

To see a database list of caffeine content, CLICK HERE
Note:  All artificial and natural sources of caffeine should be reduced during pregnancy.


SOURCES:
1) “Caffeine.” The Free Encyclopedia.  Web. 15 Feb. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine> 
2) Dr. Jones. “Shaking Hands and Artificial Caffeine.” CVN Health. Web. 22 Jan. 2009  
3)Gasa, Daniel.  Natural Caffeine Or Synthetic - Is There a Difference?”Web. 13 Jan. 2011  < http://ezinearticles.com/?Natural-Caffeine-Or-Synthetic---Is-There-a-Difference?&id=413253>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story.