If you have trouble getting through the day without a jolt of caffeine, you’re not alone. According to a High Altitude Medicine and Biology report, 90% of North American adults catch a caffeine buzz daily. But not everyone's getting that energy boost from beverages alone. From cereal to sunflower seeds, caffeine is waking up a variety of packaged foods. In fact, as of 2013, retail sales of caffeinated foods had grown 49% to $1.6 billion since 2008, according to consumer market research firm Euromonitor International. With tremendous growth like that, we don’t see this trend dying down anytime soon.
While caffeinated foods can be pretty tasty, many are loaded with calories and sugar (to compensate for caffeine’s natural bitterness) and many serve up too much of a jolt. The American Dietetic Association recommends having no more than 300 milligrams of the stimulant daily (that's what you’d find in two 8-ounce cups of coffee), while some of these energized foods offer more than four times that amount in one serving. The more caffeine the better, right? Not exactly. Too much can cause stomach pain, negatively impact mood and nutrient absorption, increase heart rate, and lead to dizzy spells and dehydration. Eek.
To help you navigate all the new caffeine-packed foods on the supermarket shelves, we’ve tracked down the most interesting options and asked Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., national nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, and Jim White, R.D., personal trainer and Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Spokesperson, which products are worth trying.
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