Read Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us by Murray Carpenter Online

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The additive that flows under the radarThe most popular drug in America is a white powder. No, not that powder. This is caffeine in its most essential state. And Caffeinated reveals the little-known truth about this addictive, largely unregulated drug found in coffee, energy drinks, teas, colas, chocolate, and even pain relievers.We’ll learn why caffeine has such a powerfuThe additive that flows under the radarThe most popular drug in America is a white powder. No, not that powder. This is caffeine in its most essential state. And Caffeinated reveals the little-known truth about this addictive, largely unregulated drug found in coffee, energy drinks, teas, colas, chocolate, and even pain relievers.We’ll learn why caffeine has such a powerful effect on everything from boosting our mood to improving our athletic performance as well as how—and why—brands such as Coca-Cola have ducked regulatory efforts for decades. We learn the differences in the various ways caffeine is delivered to the body, how it is quietly used to reinforce our buying patterns, and how it can play a role in promoting surprising health problems like obesity and anxiety.Drawing on the latest research, Caffeinated brings us the inside perspective at the additive that Salt Sugar Fat overlooked....

Title : Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594631382
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us Reviews

  • Marin
    2018-11-03 21:26

    Meh. I got really bored towards the end. There was some interesting information but it wasn't compellingly presented. There wasn't really an argument, or a thesis. Just a recitation of facts. Yawn.

  • Naomi Young
    2018-11-08 16:49

    This is a confused book. It doesn't know whether to be a documentary, a tribute, a confession, or an exposé. Perhaps that's because caffeine is a confusing drug. Today, it's legal and ubiquitous; but had it just been discovered last week, it would NEVER be an over-the-counter med, much less the secret ingredient in dang near everything. The author takes several "caffeine delivery systems" through production, and gives an overview of regulatory attempts and complaints from Europe in the Medieval period up through the Four Loko controversy. I did find the chapter describing conditions in Chinese caffeine-synthesizing plants to be disgusting, yet I know I won't be avoiding caffeine-boosted foods and supplements in future. Knocking off a couple of stars because it IS a high-level overview, and Carpenter didn't follow some of the tangents I thought important. I'm surprised to see so many reviews that call it dully written -- perhaps the author's wit is too dry for their palates?

  • Sarah
    2018-10-27 16:54

    While this book felt a bit like homework at times, I did learn a lot about caffeine. Carpenter does a good job of reviewing caffeine from all sides, not really pushing you to be for or against the substance. After reading, I'm more aware of what caffeine can do, the type of products that have it, and how much of it I am putting into my own body; which is exactly the result that Carpenter wants from his readers.

  • Daniel
    2018-11-05 16:40

    very interesting, and a great follow up to "Salt, Sugar, Fat." America is addicted to caffeine, and not just with coffee. The author goes into detail on the history of caffeine in America, behind the scenes of soft drink and energy drink companies and how they target specific segments of the population. The author had a nice piece in the Washington Post :http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinion...

  • Atila Iamarino
    2018-10-29 17:54

    Gostei bastante. Mostra como a cafeína é usada em todo tipo de produto para vender mais; a maioria dos refrigerantes mais vendidos são cafeinados. Como surgem os energéticos e todo tipo de produto como chicletes, shots, aditivos pra outras bebidas, todos com cafeína sintética. Até mesmo em produtos infantis. Me fez parar de beber energético inclusive. Sigo no café, mas bem mais consciente do que isso envolve.

  • John
    2018-10-16 18:55

    This was good. It also made me feel a little stupid. I always took caffeine for granted, not just in coffee and tea, but in soda too. I figured Coke and Pepsi had caffeine because they just did, colas just had caffeine. The fact that this did not explain why Mountain Dew, or Sunkist, also had caffeine did not occur to me. But of course, these sodas actually have caffeine because the companies mix in caffeine powder - they control the amount of caffeine you get. And that leads to the other thing I didn't know, which according to Carpenter, lots of people don't know - where that caffeine comes from. He writes that when they bother to think about it, most people figure that extra caffeine comes from the decaffeination process for coffee and tea. And some does. But most comes from big factories in China that synthesize caffeine.There was a lot of fascinating information in here about how caffeine affects one's body. It was a good time-waster, especially if you are a big coffee swiller like me. It did not make me want to swear off coffee, but it did confirm me in my desire to avoid those creepy energy drinks. I will drink my coffee and tea thank you. And sometimes Coke.

  • Steven R. McEvoy
    2018-10-19 15:49

    From the first time I saw a cover for this book I was hooked. I knew it was a book I would read, what I did not know was how much I would enjoy it and how it would take my thoughts to so many places. Back in university I was called Captain Caffeine by my roommates, working fulltime midnights, fulltime course load, community involvement and relationships meant I was counting my coffee consumption in pots not cups and usually started the day with 2 Jolt's. Then 10 years later when I returned to university and I was a supervisor at Starbuck's I average 8 quad grande drinks a day. Before I worked at Starbucks my favorite drink was a Quad Espresso with 16 extra shots, a Venti cup of Espresso and on more than one occasion drank 2 of them back to back while sitting in Starbucks in a Chapter's bookstore. I have embraced caffeine and swam in a lake of it. But I am older now and a little wiser (I hope) and I absolutely loved this book.The book begins with a defining a few terms that we will encounter a few times throughout the rest of this review. The first is CDM - Caffeine Delivery Mechanisms, this includes any method ingesting caffeine whether it be natural or artificial form. The second is SCAD, Carpenter attempts to come up with s standard dose for comparison purposes: "In an effort to make this easier, I came up with a measure called a Standard Caffeine Dose, or a SCAD. A SCAD is seventy-five milligrams. This is a handy standard, roughly equal to a shot of espresso, 150ml of coffee, a 250ml can of Red Bull, two 350ml cans of Coke or Pepsi, a 500ml bottle of Mountain Dew, or a pint of Diet Coke (which has higher caffeine concentrations than Coke)." p.XV. Carpenter has gone on a journey through the different CDM's available both at home and abroad. He has also travelled across the USA, Canada and around the world in pursuit of this story. He has sampled raw China White Caffeine, had coffee that was picked dried and roasted on the fame he was visiting, pursued companies, scientists, the FDS and other agencies involved with the business of keeping us amped up and going hard. Carpenter has looked at everything from traditional coffee, loose leaf tea, mate, Coca-Cola, Monster, 5-hour Energy, Green Mountain, K-Cups, clif shot blocks, gu, Starbucks and more.One of the biggest problems that Carpenter encounter and is left unresolved is that Caffeine is many things to many people. It is marketed as a stimulant, a food, a beverage, a diet supplement and a medication. In fact the addition of Caffeine in Coca-Cola lead to a trial between the U.S. Government and Coke when Coke was charged with: "with violating the Pure Food and Drugs Act by adulterating their beverage with a harmful ingredient: caffeine." p. 81 In 1909. That Caffeine was a product of Monsanto. Monsanto's involvement with Coke starts as early as 1905 when the company produced caffeine for Coke. During the trial Coke paid for the first major study of the impact of Caffeine on human's. But Coke changed their tactics stating Caffeine was a flavor ingredient and essential to the product. And the judge ruled in their favor. And the tension between what has now become the FDA and purveyors of caffeinated drinks had begun; and still swells and ebbs today. From that early history Carpenter takes us on a journey both around the world and through the research and helps us draw our own conclusions about the most socially acceptable of drugs.The book has some staggering facts and trivia. The first that caught my attention was that Eight of the top 10 soft drinks in the Us contain caffeine. "Coca-Cola , Pepsi and Dr Pepper Snapple, Americans import more than fifteen million pounds of powdered caffeine annually. That's enough to fill three hundred 40-foot (12-metre) shipping containers. Imagine a freight train two miles long, each carriage loaded to the brim with psychoactive powder." p. 97 And there is still a plant in Texas that decaffeinates coffee and exports in's caffeine. But other than that almost all caffeine production is abroad.In a chapter focused on athletics especially first person accounts of plans and strategies for the Kona Iron Man it becomes obvious that no two athletes plane and caffeinate alike. Each has a personal plan but they vary drastically, from some who avoid caffeine except in competition to those who use regularly and really push the limits for competitions, to a few who barely use it as an enhancement. Researchers into caffeine and performance athletes concluded: "They concisely synopsized the challenges of using caffeine well: It can motivate you and improve your performance, but it is also addicting. In other words, use it to train, use it to race, but use it judiciously." p.146 But even with that there is a footnote that many sports or governing bodies still have limits of how much caffeine an athlete can have in their system and not get disqualified, and other sports have just begun to ignore this specific drug altogether. In a chapter on Joe for GI's - caffeine and the military life there is a fascinating quote from a military briefing dating to 1896 for the Secretary of War: "'A chemical substance which stimulates brain, nerves and muscles, is a daily necessity and is used by every single nation.' And ''When there is fatigue and the food is diminished such a stimulant is indispensable, and must be an ingredient of every reserve and emergency ration.' More than a century ago, military leaders were trying to figure out how to keep soldiers revved up." p. 165 The military even has a special division at Natick that works on foods and beverages that are caffeinated for soldiers in the field. From caffeine fortified beef jerky, applesauce, tube foods that tastes like pudding. And the first caffeinated gum in production was for the military. Stay alert gum had a dose of 100 milligrams per stick of gum coming in at a SCAD and a third per stick or 6.6 SCAD's for the pack of 5. Zapplesauce - caffeinated Apple sauce has 110 milligrams of caffeine. And more all developed for the fighting soldier and some have trickled out to the general population. Later in the book coming back to the military in summarizing a recent study on military caffeine consumption Carpenter states: "The older soldiers are still drinking more coffee and taking more caffeine than the young males. But the young men, those soldiers from eighteen to twenty-four, get more caffeine from energy drinks than coffee." p. 224 and for the first time energy drinks has replaced coffee as the primary DCM for a specific age group.Doing some comparison between the FDA south of the border and it's wavering's in dealing with Caffeine especially in energy drinks and new CDM's Carpenter draws from a Canadian source. Quoting a 2010 Canadian Medical Association Journal "'Energy drinks are very effective high-concentration caffeine delivery systems,' the editors wrote. They also said, 'Caffeine-loaded energy drinks have now crossed the line from beverages to drugs delivered as tasty syrups.'" p.211 and regulations around these products vary depending on how they are being marketed and where they are being marketed. Carpenter comes back to Coca-Cola, Monster, 5 hour Energy again and again. But then he turn's his focus on Starbucks. Specifically Starbucks as the all-around CDM provider, coffee, tea, energy drinks and more. "Starbucks stands out among modern caffeine traders. It has developed an internationally recognized brand, a vast network of cafés and a fast-growing line of ready-to-drink caffeinated beverages. It's got tea wrapped up, too, with its Tazo and Teavana lines (it spent $620 million for the latter in late 2012). It mass-markets roasted-and-ground coffees in supermarkets and has its lowbrow Seattle's Best Coffee in bags" p.231 Starbucks offer's it all, from Refreshers which "Starbucks is making a promise that sounds utterly bizarre for the company that brought bold, rich, dark-roasted coffee to the masses: "No coffee flavor. I promise," Starbucks's Brian Smith says on its Web site. "Just a refreshing break from the roasty norm." p.233 So all the caffeine benefits with no taste. A long way from Coca-Cola stating Caffeine was essential for the flavor of the product.The penultimate quote I would like to leave you with is: "The beverage industry is not fumbling in the dark here; they are dialling in to optimal caffeination to keep consumers coming back. Consider the specificity of a 2005 coffee-drink patent from industry giant Nestlé. 'Controlled Delivery of Caffeine from High-Caffeinated Coffee Beverages Made from Soluble Powder' details the steps for blending coffee powder and natural caffeine. And Nestlé described it in terms of the intended metabolic effect: 'Thus, a beverage can be prepared that contains at least 80 to no more than 115mg caffeine such that consumption of a single serving of the beverage by a person provides a plasma caffeine level in the person that is above 1.25mg/l for at least 2 to 4 hours following consumption of the beverage.' You read that right - the beverage formulators are blending caffeine powder and coffee with the goal of hitting your ideal 'plasma caffeine level'."p.235 And with that carpenter nail's it on the head. The vendors and manufacturer's know what they are doing, whether they are skirting the law or just ignoring it there are numerous examples of companies pushing the limits. But all of that was predicted over 100 year ago Emil Fischer was a German chemist and in 1902 he won the Novel Prize for synthesis of caffeine in a lab in 1895. In a short extract from an extended quote of Emil's words "It is even possible to produce the true aroma of coffee or tea artificially, too, by synthesis; with the exercise of a little imagination the day can be foreseen when beans will no longer be required to make good coffee: a small amount of powder from a chemical works together with water will provide a savoury, refreshing drink surprisingly cheaply." p.237. Where Emil predicted what would happen with beverages Carpenter predicts we have only seen the beginning the perfect CDM has yet to hit the market but some scientist in a home lab, or working for a giant like Monsanto or Starbucks is working on it now. But what will its ultimate impact be?This was a fascinating book. I had a hard time putting it down. And find myself talking about it constantly. I am also thinking about the studies, science and personal stories of caffeine helping and hurting people in their day to day life's, including a few deaths attributed to caffeine toxicity. I can only suggest that you read the book and let the dialogue begin!Read the review on my blogBook Reviews and More.

  • Cindy
    2018-10-26 17:32

    Title should make a reference this being a caffeine education and users's guide. Very interesting, explains some of my (and others') caffeine reactions and made me use caffeine more thoughtfully. I would not recommended this as an audiobook.

  • Peri Dotty
    2018-10-24 18:53

    This book felt like it started life as a short piece, because by and large the contents consisted of the same information presented in slightly different phrases, if by chance one were attempting to pad the wordcount. I was super curious about the subject matter but the presentation of information was 'all over the place,' as well as the aforementioned redundancy, both of which led this book right to the recycle pile.

  • Gabriella Gricius
    2018-10-19 18:38

    Why Read: I've always been interested in nonfiction... but unfortunately, I never get around to reading the pop-culture science books that flood the Bookternet every couple of months. Caffeinated has been on my radar for months, when one day I decided I needed a new audio book. There was no reason to not listen to this utterly fantastic read, so shrugging: I did it.Review: Did you know most of the caffeine in our sodas and other beverages is actually synthetic white powder that's produced in China without FDA regulation? Could you imagine that the highest amount of caffeine consumption in the USA was actually all the way back during World War 2? Maybe you know exactly how scarily prevalent caffeine is in our culture worldwide? These are just three of the ideas that have come from listening to Caffeinated. I was hooked from the onset. The book opens with a case of caffeine powder overdose at a party, moving onto the authors investigation into caffeine.How exactly does one "study" caffeine? Murray Carpenter does a fabulous job racing around the globe from Central America, to America to China to illustrate just how incredibly popular this drug is in its different forms. Beyond simply acknowledging the origins, Carpenter takes us on the journey of Coca Cola - and how the extremely limited caffeine regulation in the United States stems from a battle between two men. The storyline is twisted and thick with implications and even travels to chemical reactions within the body, showing how caffeine really does impact our cultures and behavioral patterns.Finishing this book... I was a little freaked. Considering though: How could I not be? You don't often read a book about a drug and not become overly paranoid, but it becomes more concerning when caffeine, a "state-sponsored" drug, is the product being described. I almost want to not recommend this book to those who drink coffee on a regular basis (because it may send you into a bit of anxiety-caffeine-provoked panic attack), but I almost feel like I am obligated to tell you about these things and knowledge. Caffeine is happily and heavily promoted worldwide, and while it has positive short-term effects, the addictive-like qualities it contains are deeply frightening in a world that literally runs on coffee. Verdict: Please read if only to save me from being overly aware of caffeine consumption.Rating: 5/5 Stars

  • Jill
    2018-11-03 22:47

    Overall, Caffeinated was....alright for me. It's not terribly difficult, I imagine, to write a decent work of non-fiction if you research a topic decently. If you pack a book with enough interesting factoids and the writing is half decent, the average reader is likely to find something worth his while in there. But to write a compelling work of non-fiction requires something more. Arguments that make you consider an alternative point of view, perhaps (Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind). Looking at an issue in a completely different manner and marshalling the facts to support this framing (Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel or James C Scott's Seeing Like a State). Or sometimes just great storytelling (Dava Sobel's Longitude). Caffeinated for me fell into the former category. A bunch of curated facts, many of which I hadn't known before, a subset of which I found rather interesting. Some of the interesting bits - the story of K Cups and the entrepreneur, Bob Stiller, behind them; the story of an FDA that is behind the curve on understanding, much less regulating, the addition of caffeine in food, whose regulatory model is based on the assumption that coffee and tea are the primary foods by which people obtain caffeine. In reality, energy drinks like Monster Energy have overtaken coffee and tea in popularity in younger demographics. You can get caffeine from gum, from gel strips, to Kraft's MiO Energy, a "liquid water enhancer" that's basically a vial of artificial flavour, caffeine and colouring that you add to water. Even Sunkist orange soda in the US has caffeine. Yet, the FDA has yet to draft a regulatory definition for energy drinks - it does not have a regulatory definition for non-cola drinks that may contain caffeine. (By contrast, Canada restricts the caffeine content in cola type beverages and disallows adding caffeine to juices or non carbonated drinks). Who knew?

  • Max Chervov
    2018-11-06 19:53

    В книге, безусловно, есть дельная информация и отдельные главы довольно увлекательны, но в целом показалось скучно и намеренно раздуто. Обилие имён и названий, которые забываешь, уже перелистнув страницу, а также очень много разговоров и экспериментов, которые по сути подтверждают суть о кофе и кофеине, которую можно было бы уместить на нескольких страницах. Сначала мне казалось, что в том, что я клевал носом на этой книге, есть вина переводчика, но, заглянув в оригинал, убедился, что это не так. Книга, возможно, понравится тем, кто читает урывками и не против, когда ему повторяют одно и то же на протяжении 300 страниц. Всем остальным рекомендую ознакомиться с Введением и по диагонали просмотреть Часть III книги.

  • James La Vela
    2018-11-01 15:55

    I enjoyed this book and read through it quickly. What I most enjoyed was picking up all sorts of caffeine facts that I've readily shared with friends. This book, while it lagged in some chapters, presented a thorough view of caffeine in today's society. If you drink coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks have a read!

  • Dan
    2018-11-12 23:26

    I guess thorough is the nicest thing I can say about this book. Maybe Mary Roach has spoiled me in the science/entertainment genre, but Carpenter could seriously use some of Roach's humor to move this thing along. Short version: caffeine is potentially harmful and under regulated thanks to corporate interests. Now that I've saved you some time, check out Bonk, Stiff, or Gulp instead.

  • Amanda
    2018-10-29 15:27

    Some interesting bits, but overall it wasn't nearly as in depth as one would have hoped-- particularly on the issues of helping, hurting, and hooking us.

  • Science For The People
    2018-10-17 22:27

    Featured on Science for the People show #274 on July 18, 2014, during an interview with author Murray Carpenter. http://www.scienceforthepeople.ca/epi...

  • Leo Robertson
    2018-10-24 19:29

    Another skimmer. Not bad! Some interesting facts. What more to say :)

  • Dimitris Hall
    2018-10-20 17:41

    Straightforward book about caffeine and its history, widespread independent cross-cultural emergence, medical and understated addictive effects, the controversy surrounding its classification as a drug, anecdotes... It's a non-fiction book in the style I like 'em, that is with a good deal of research thrown into them on an aspect of life we take for granted, goes unnoticed and almost nobody knows anything about.I read more than 3/4 of it during my total of three flights from Montevideo to Athens. I think it would have taken me a bit longer if I hadn't been caffeinated myself all the way, courtesy of French-speaking flight attendants. "Big deal", your reaction might be, "so is the majority of the world's population close to every single day." Right then and there, my smile would say "exactly" without me having to utter a word.Have some interesting caffeine facts sipped up from Caffeinated:A moderate dose of caffeine is about 75mg. Mr. Carpenter "came up with a measure called a Standard Caffeine Dose, or a SCAD. A SCAD is seventy-five milligrams. This is a handy standard, roughly equal to a shot of espresso, 150ml of coffee, a 250ml can of Red Bull, two 350ml cans of Coke or Pepsi, a 500ml bottle of Mountain Dew, or a pint of Diet Coke (which has higher caffeine concentrations than Coke)." Starbucks coffee, Monster and other energy drinks that aren't nearly honest enough about the extent to which their efficacy depends on caffeine, contain several SCADs each---a Tall Latte has 2 SCADs, about as much as a standard Monster, and a Grande brewed coffee has more than 4. I had realised that plain coffee from Starbucks makes me jittery, but I had never actually grasped that it's like drinking a double Monster.Contrary to some industry-funded research, it's the caffeine, not the associated rituals, smell or socialising that makes us come back for more. Drinking coffee, tea, maté or energy drinks is our "stable and orderly form of drug self-administration behaviour that is readily amenable to experimental analysis using intensive in-subject experimental design".Coca Cola insists that caffeine is added to their products for flavour. I'd say they're fooling nobody, but I prefer not to speak in the name of others."Even though it’s not considered to be a drug of abuse in virtually any culture, it has all the features of a drug of abuse. ‘That is, it alters mood, it produces physical dependence, it produces withdrawal upon abstinence, and some proportion of the population becomes dependent on it".Have you ever wondered how come there is an increasing number of energy drink on the market? Apparently most artificial caffeine for the past few years has been produced in China, in shady factories restricted to access. All this supply has to go somewhere, right? Did you know that artificial caffeine can be and does get made from uric acid? And sometimes it contains small amounts of impurities that make it glow. There's a process for removing these impurities so that your Coke or Red Bull doesn't glow, but I can't be the only one who thinks that having fluorescent caffeinated drinks would be damn cool.Come to think of it... "In 1905, a small chemical company in St. Louis, Missouri began producing caffeine for Coca-Cola. It was the third product for the fledgling company, which was already producing vanillin and saccharine for the beverage company. For decades afterwards, the company refined caffeine from waste tea leaves to supply the soft drink industry. The company was Monsanto." Monsanto should go back to making caffeine, and glowing caffeine, please. Wouldn't it go perfect with their GMO stuff?Caffeinated gets 3 stars because I read all these interesting facts before I was even halfway done with it. The rest was mostly boring US-centred legal accounts on the emergence of high caffeine energy drinks and a strew of contradicting facts about the effects on health, a fact that plaka-plaka might be perfectly apt for the drug in question.So, bottom line: is it worth it getting off caffeine? The book understandably doesn't reach a conclusive point. My advice, as always: try it, go for it, see how it feels, see if you can do it, if it's worth it. They say that morning grogginess is actually caused by the onset of caffeine withdrawal: if you didn't drink coffee in the first place, there would be nothing to withdraw from, so you wouldn't feel groggy in the morning. Plus it'd be worth a shot just to get a real buzz from coffee again, the same way you get a good buzz from other commonly abused drugs (nicotine, alcohol) if you manage to stay off of them for a while. Of course, caffeine, for me at least, is much more difficult to stay away from than both cigarettes and alcohol.A final remark: Coca Cola wins a Discreet Evil Genius award for getting parents everywhere to drown their children in Coke while forbidding them to drink coffee. I don't even remember when I had my first coffee (I only remember downing my first frappé in seconds, to the ridicule of my high school friends) but then again I don't need to, because I first came in contact with caffeine long before I/my body could effectively form any memories.

  • Alex Chumakov
    2018-11-02 21:37

    Very useful book which contains a lot of facts about up-to-date bevereages and overall consumption of caffeine by people. Now I am sure that staying away from energetics is the best tactic to preserve health and sustaining the moderate level of caffeine during my day not only improves my body health but also could have positive impact on the psychological one.

  • Francesc
    2018-10-21 15:34

    I found Part I very interesting, but Parts II, III and IV not so much.

  • Evans
    2018-10-26 20:55

    I knew most of the material going into this book, but it was a pretty good read anyways.

  • Tessy Consentino
    2018-11-09 17:49

    Fascinating read on the wonder that is caffeine. Goes into detail about what products it's added to and what products it naturally occurs in. As a lover of coffee it did not disappoint.

  • Susan
    2018-10-30 20:26

    I never knew there was so much to be known about caffein - interesting, funny, astounding, shocking and tasty!

  • Lafourche Parish Library
    2018-10-18 19:27

    The author, Murray Carpenter, is a freelance radio and news reporter from Maine with a background in psychology and environmental science who has written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, and National Geographic. A self-described happy addict of caffeine, Carpenter states that he decided to research the substance that stimulates him daily. In the book’s acknowledgements, Mr. Carpenter thanks “the bitter white powder that inspired this book and provided the focus and stamina to write it.” According to the book, a tablespoon of caffeine powder will cause cardio-toxic effects and death, yet powdered caffeine can be purchased online by practically anyone. This journalistic account uses statistics, first-hand accounts, made-up units of measurement, and quirky facts to take the reader through the history, cultivation, dangers, and delights of caffeine throughout the world.The physiology, psychology and commerce of the stimulant are discussed at length. The book is divided into four parts: Traditional Caffeine, Modern Caffeine, Caffeinated Body/Caffeinated Brain, and Corralling Caffeine. Beginning with the traditional and most popular forms, coffee, tea, and chocolate derived from plants in different regions of the world. Caffeinated claims that caffeine emerged independently on four continents as an insecticide. The buzzworthy plants inspired complex routines in the cultures that used them. A spicy and dark cacao elixir used by South Americans dates back thirteen hundred years ago, the earliest recorded use by humans that has been found. Caffeine is now consumed by billions daily as described in the second part of the book. Most of the caffeine that is used today as an ingredient in soft drinks, energy drinks, and headache medicine comes in a powdered form that can be purchased by the pound. Carpenter travels to coffee farms in Guatemala, a synthetic caffeine factory in China, and an energy shot bottler in New Jersey to show to research the manufacturing process. Pure caffeine was traditionally extracted from used tea leaves or the decaffeination process of coffee. A little known fact is that much of the caffeine powder we use today is not pure caffeine derived from plant sources, but is synthesized in pharmaceutical plants, primarily in China using chemicals including urea and chloroacetic acid. The synthetic substance is sold as caffeine, has the same effects, and is not distinguished on labels, in marketing, or in the media as anything other than regular caffeine. FDA regulations do not impose much restriction on caffeine due to wording and legal loopholes used by big companies such as Coca Cola. Carpenter tells us that 1.7 billion Coca Cola products are consumed daily around the world.It is used as a performance enhancer in sports and military training and is even included in drug testing in certain amounts in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Caffeine works by blocking the uptake of adenosine, which tells the brain we are drowsy, thus keeping us feeling awake. That simple blockage makes caffeine America’s favorite drug. Manipulations on the body are also described, as are the negative side effects that follow. For more facts, figures, and methods regarding the most widely used drug in the world, pick up Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us at your Lafourche Parish Public Library.

  • Nikunj Bhatt
    2018-11-07 20:47

    I occasionally enjoy books that explore the story behind every day products. This is a quick and easy read and provides a few interesting tidbits (like broccoli can affect caffeine metabolism!) which was fun and interesting and made it worth the read. The author tried to explore various controversies around caffeine but some of it fell "flat" like the occasional cola products he describes if they fester too long. Yes caffeine is unregulated but he provides scant data on the real harm this lack of regulation has led to -- it was what I was hoping to find out. I can rest assured my morning coffee is ok...but probably will continue to steer clear of those "energy drinks".

  • Maxine
    2018-10-21 22:39

    This was a fascinating read! A great topic, well-researched and wonderfully interesting. Why only 3 stars then?Carpenter is a good writer, but he isn't a great writer. I kept waiting for this book to really get interesting and blow me away - similar to other great nonfiction books - but, it never quite got there.Caffeinated starts off right into the story, without a good introduction, and starts talking about chocolate, and the international chocolate industry. We then head straight into tea and coffee, and then into caffeinated drinks (like Redbull and 5-Hour Energy). Obviously, this book is on why caffeine is so addictive - and there is plenty of great information on that aspect of caffeine in this book. What was missing, and what would have made this a 4-star read, is more context, background, and information on how the caffeine industry is effecting the people who grow this crop! There is a bit of discussion of this in the chapter on chocolate, but not all that much. There is also no discussion of the other caffeine crops, which are mentioned, but not really explained. Yerba Maté, guarana, and Kona are the ones that come to mind.There is no discussion of caffeine in any other industry (like painkillers or drugs), but there is a discussion on the use of caffeine in sports, which was interesting, although not all that useful to me. I guess what most people would have been looking for in a book like this is what to do about caffeine use in everyday life? There are some interesting stats listed about how caffeine effects a person, but in the end, no prescription about how much is too much, or if you should even keep drinking it!The book also ended on a very abrupt note. There was no conclusion chapter, or even a few pages at the end to bring it all together. I turned the page and ended up at the appendix! A few words bringing everything together, and melding all of Carpenter's research into a few main points, would have really helped the book feel complete.A fascinating topic - but a non-fiction book that left a bit to be desired.

  • Christina Dudley
    2018-11-01 22:30

    I remember when my sister was in college she had a textbook called LICIT DRUGS (as opposed to "illicit"), of which caffeine was the prime example. Whether you're a daily coffee drinker, tea drinker, or a regular fan of one of the top ten sodas in the country, odds are you have a caffeine addiction.A soda might contain 1/64th teaspoon of caffeine (a bitter white powder), a 12-ounce coffee has about 1/16th teaspoon, and a dose of 1 tablespoon would be lethal! (Don't worry--that's about 50 cups of coffee or 200 cups of tea.)Caffeine can be culled from many plant sources around the world, and no matter how we take it--through a beverage habit or by chewing kola nuts or downing chocolate, studies have found we are as good as lab rats in self-medicating. We ingest until we get our usual dosage.Why caffeine? It suppresses our sleepiness receptors, improves reaction time and mental acuity and even makes us more sociable. Only a small percentage of folks suffer adverse effects, and we can tell when we've gone over our proper daily dosage.The author journeys around the world and through history to investigate chocolate, soft drinks, coffee, tea, energy drinks and sports gels, and even caffeinated chewing gums!A couple fun takeaways:-- caffeine in your tea increases, the longer you let it steep.--Coffee consumption in the U.S. dropped after WWII, and the you get generation prefers energy drinks.--Most caffeine nowadays is produced synthetically in China.-- coffee drinkers suffer less from depression ! However, caffeine does promote insulin resistance.--Children ages 4-12 should not have more than 45-85mg caffeine daily(!!!!). Of course, if you're the crazy kind of parent giving your kids any caffeine at all, you have more late-night stamina than I ever will.Anyhow, if, like most Americans, you're a certified caffeine addict, I recommend this read!

  • Robin
    2018-11-01 17:36

    This is a book about one of the most commonly used legal stimulants. The well researched information is presented in dry, textbook style format.If you're the kind of person who would be surprised to find out that major companies use caffeine in their drinks to hook consumers into a habit that causes repeat purchases, this book may have some interesting information for you.If you think that kind of information falls under the "grass is green, water is wet" school of common sense, this book will offer you nothing except regrets for the time you wasted reading it.As other reviewers have pointed out, what this book lacks is exactly the information that I was looking for - relevant information that a person might want on just how much caffeine one could (or should) take at different ages and stages of prolonged caffeine use, how diseases and conditions affect the way caffeine acts in different people, how long to regularly consume caffeine without a break, what kind of breaks are needed between regular use and how to best get through them, and the least painful way to kick the caffeine habit.This book was a disappointment to me, both because it lacked the information I was looking for and because of the author's writing style. I have not read the author before, and I will actively seek to avoid anything written by this author again because I found the writing style of the book to be mind numbingly dull.Also, the author is not just a constant caffeine user but I dare say a caffeine connoisseur - so like any addict, he was unable to bring an unbiased viewpoint to the subject. Indeed, for all the history and trivia he presents, he couldn't bring himself to bring a critical eye to his beloved white powder.

  • Popup-ch
    2018-10-24 22:50

    Coffee carries considerable caffeine kick confounding consumers.A self-proclaimed addict analyses how the worlds most widely used drug remains socially acceptable, virtually everywhere in the world. (Surprisingly there's little mention of caffeine non-users. He claims that almost every culture uses it, but without specifying who doesn't. I know that Mormons aren't supposed to drink coffee, but they do drink coke.)The author analyses how caffeine has been used in almost all cultures as a mild stimulant and performance booster. In most cases it is not a problem, as people are rather good at self-administering the drug. If given coffee with less caffeine, people will drink more, and vice-versa. These days, however, it is being blended into lots of unexpected things, from chewing gum and energy gels to orange juice, dieting pills and even underwear(!), in a way that's almost unregulated. (At least from an American viewpoint. The author appears to have forgotten that there's a whole world in 'abroad'.)One surprising fact is that the amount of coffee being drunk (again, in the US) has decreased over a generation or two, despite significant increases in quality. This is overwhelmingly compensated by the rise in soft drinks and (more recently) energy drinks.There's an interesting chapter on the performance-enhancing aspects of the drug, with a vignette from the Iron-Man triathlon, where almost everyone administers carefully calibrated caffeine kicks. 3-6 mg per kg of body weight appears to be optimum, but it depends strongly on many factors, such as smoking (increases tolerance), oral contraceptives (increases effect) and gender (men are more tolerant than women).

  • Bonny
    2018-10-18 17:53

    Caffeinated is a compendium of facts, interesting stories, and history about one of our favorite unregulated drugs - caffeine. Murray Carpenter writes about caffeine's physiologic effects (on adenosine receptors), why people metabolize caffeine at different rates (because of genetic predisposition, smoking, or other medications), and that there is no standard amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or tea. He recounts his trips to Guatemalan coffee farms, Mexican cacao farms, and a synthetic caffeine factory in China. He covers caffeine research by the military, the beneficial and problematic aspects of caffeine use by athletes, and the many regulatory difficulties surrounding caffeine in foods, beverages, and supplements. The marketing of caffeine in sodas and energy drinks by “Big Beverage” is one of the most important sections of the book, sounding suspiciously like nicotine marketing by tobacco companies. The exhaustive research presented in Caffeinated is both a strength and a weakness. I'm a person who loves to see a good argument supported by relevant data and details, but there were quite a few times that the numbers presented by Carpenter became simply overwhelming. I'm also a person that can admit that there are many mornings where the only thing that gets me out of bed is the lovely anticipation of my morning cup of tea and how good it's going to make me feel. Caffeinated doesn't judge whether my dependence on that cup of tea is good, bad, or otherwise, but it does make the reader think about caffeine - not just coffee, tea, or soda - in all its myriad presentations.