Caffeine has become the one of the most popular “legal” drugs of choice among food, beverage and cosmetics makers. Earlier this month Frito-Lay announced it was introducing a new caffeinated snack called Jack’D Power Bites, containing sugar, molasses and a shot of coffee equivalent to about a 1-ounce cup of espresso or two 12-ounce sodas. And now Thrillist has provided a list of other new products guaranteed to give consumers a jolt. Sure the products are novel, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that even though these foods are readily available, they can be dangerous to your health and caution should be exercised.
The new highly caffeinated products include sugar-free VE2 gum – each piece contains the equivalent of one cup of coffee; Biofuel caffeinated popcorn, whose 70-serving bag contains 2,000 mg of caffeine; Sumseeds and Zotes – brands of sunflower seeds dusted with caffeine; BuzzStrong’s caffeinated cookies; Water Joe infused with caffeine extracted from coffee beans; the highly controversial inhalable Aeroshots; Bang!! Caffeinated ice cream; and Energy gummy bears. Caffeine is also being infused into deodorants, lip balms, eye creams, shampoos, personal lubricant and even panty hose.
But how safe are these products? Recently, the FDA announced that it was investigating incident reports and deaths associated with energy drinks packed with high amounts of caffeine. Drinks under investigation include 5-Hour Energy, which has been tied to 13 deaths, and Monster Energy Drinks, which have been associated with five deaths. Studies have shown that the high amount of caffeine plus sugar and other ingredients in these products can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart palpitations and arrhythmias, anxiety and insomnia.