- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As Americans, we should be unapologetic about our coffee consumption as there is plenty of research to back us up in our health claims regarding caffeine (“American caffeine addiction races full speed ahead,” Web, Jan. 17).

First, contrary to the assertion of the article, caffeine is not addictive. While many of us think we can’t survive without our morning cup of coffee, caffeine can be eliminated from the system without physical or emotional effects such as those that can result from withdrawal from an actual drug. Second, several recent studies show that moderate caffeine consumption has positive health effects. For example, 100 to 600 milligrams of caffeine can maintain mental performance, according to the U.S. Institutes of Medicine. In addition, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance during exercise.

The writer of this piece is correct when he says consuming too much caffeine is not healthy, but then, too much of anything is not good for you. The answer here is not to avoid caffeine altogether, but rather to have it in moderation. For a generally healthy person, 600 milligrams or less per day daily of caffeine is ideal.

When you consider that a 12-ounce cup of coffee provides 230 milligrams of caffeine and a 12-ounce soda can provides 36 milligrams, most of us can safely continue to enjoy our favorite caffeinated drinks without worry.

The article also correctly points out that some products marketed as “high-energy” contain excessive amounts of caffeine, especially when they are consumed heavily by children and adolescents. Parents and adults should be wary of such products.

DANIEL SANTIBANEZ

Registered dietitian

Miami Beach

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