Caffeine: Fact or fiction

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 9:14 am

The idea that caffeine is added to soft drinks to addict consumers is actually a claim by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in a study published in 2000. Although most would suggest it is a bit reactive to compare caffeine to nicotine, the soft drink industry is somewhat defensive about the subject.

The Johns Hopkins study had 25 adults attempt to choose, from paired soda samples, which one contained caffeine. Until the caffeine level exceeded that limit allowed by the FDA (6 mg per ounce), only 8% of the volunteers could tell the difference. A spokesperson for the soft drink industry suggested that the study was poorly designed and carried out, and called the conclusions “irresponsible.”

Meanwhile, it has been pointed out that soft drink companies plaster their logos everywhere, sponsor giveaways designed to serve as ads, and spend tens of millions of dollars where kids are a captive audience, such as in school cafeterias, where vending machines selling sodas are often installed to produce school revenue. A maker of caffeinated water says, “The only market available is to start them out younger and younger.”

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