Effect Measure

About a year and half ago, in a post entitled “One donut, black“, I noted the claim of a food company that it would soon be able to sell donuts spiked with caffeine. I wasn’t sure I would ever see such a thing, but I was too skeptical. Not only is that company still on track with its product, but another company has now announced its intention to put caffeine into bakery goods. All for our benefit, of course:

After announcing the development of a proprietary way to encapsulate caffeine for foods using vegetable-derived lipids last year, the company has worked in collaboration with bakery experts on prototypes to show its potential in bakery products.

It showcased a range of brownies, donuts and a cinnamon raison bread in New Orleans last month, where the annual IFT trade show was taking place.

Small amounts of caffeine have been researched for its potential in making people feel more alert, which makes it an appealing ingredient for the energy products sector. However traditionally the main delivery format has been in beverages such as coffee, which have a strong bitter taste that some consumers find objectionable. (FoodNavigator-USA)

At stake is a piece of the multibillion dollar US “energy food” market, most conspicuously in the form of high carb high-caffeine beverages like Jolt Cola (its original slogan of “All the sugar and twice the caffeine” has been dropped because there is no more cane sugar in Jolt, just high fructose corn syrup). While a typical cup of coffee has about 50 mg of caffeine, the company’s capsules have 100 mg of caffeine. The FDA doesn’t have any regulations requiring labeling of caffeine. Not yet, anyway. If we are going to see any action in that area, my guess is that it won’t be in the next 185 days (I’ll let you figure out where that number comes from).

I can drink a double espresso at dinner and go to sleep as usual later in the evening, so this development doesn’t scare me at all. But already it’s giving quite a few others the jitters.

Comments

  1. #1 Left_Wing_Fox
    July 19, 2008

    At a fair midway a couple years back, I was treated to deep-fried Coca Cola.

    This is accomplished by using Coke in a funnel cone batter, which is then deep fried, then served in a paper coke cup with coke syrup drizzed over it, then topped with powdered sugar.

    The first 5 bites were great. =/

  2. #2 Edmund
    July 19, 2008

    I was under the impression that a typical cup of coffee has at least 50 mg of caffeine, but often much more, sometimes as much as 150 mg.

    However, I’m not even sure what the volume is of a “cup” of coffee. I think it’s only supposed to be 6 fluid oz. I can only imagine this adds to the confusion.

  3. #3 Lea
    July 19, 2008

    Being a coffee drinker is something I enjoy because after the age of 50 I really did need the energy boost. I can’t drink it after 2 p.m. or I’m awake nearly all night, so I envy you revere. (my mother can do the same thing, course she’s 87 years old and can sleep at the drop of a hat).

    I am concerned about the proposed donuts spiked with caffeine however, it all boils down to a person paying attention to what their body can and cannot tolerate.

    The strong bitter taste of coffee can be alleviated by brewing your own and selecting shade grown varieties. The shade grown are not as bitter, really.

    The high fructose corn syrup in the Jolt is murder in my opinion. The body has a difficult time breaking down the corn syrup, so it’s not well tolerated. It’s inexpensive for the manufacturer and therefore used widely.
    In addition corn is a highly allergenic food, only people don’t realize this nor have they been told.

    Actually I think cannabis should be mixed in the donuts. Just enough to offset the cup of coffee and calm down the over emotional emotions of our worlds citizens. Let’s start with the politicians aye?

  4. #4 Siamang
    July 19, 2008

    “Actually I think cannabis should be mixed in the donuts.”

    Yeah, but what happens then when you get the munchies?

    AAAAH!!!! INFINITE FEEDBACK LOOOOOOP!!!!

  5. #5 Lea
    July 19, 2008

    Stop the programmed bull shit Siamang. With your type of thoughts our quest to get it legalized, let alone decriminalized is washed away by your immature responses. Time to get serious and stay serious.

  6. #6 Edmund
    July 19, 2008

    Lea said:
    “I am concerned about the proposed donuts spiked with caffeine however, it all boils down to a person paying attention to what their body can and cannot tolerate.”

    You’re right. Some people can tolerate 400 mg of caffeine without a problem, and some get heart palpitations from 25 mg. It’s important to know when we’re ingesting drugs, and in what quantity.

    Caffeine can be dangerous or deadly in large amounts (for example by overdosing on caffeine pills). Would the amount of caffeine being proposed in these donuts make it easier for someone to overdose if they were to eat a lot of them? It’s generally difficult to ingest a really dangerous dose of caffeine from coffee or tea because it’s hard to consume (and keep down) enough of the bitter liquid. But that might not be true in other forms, such as donuts. Some people pig out on donuts.

    Lea also said:
    “Actually I think cannabis should be mixed in the donuts. Just enough to offset the cup of coffee and calm down the over emotional emotions of our worlds citizens.”

    Legality aside, this isn’t so simple. Cannabis doesn’t have the same effect on everyone. For example, regular users with tolerance might relax a little from ingesting a bit, but someone with no tolerance (or on other drugs like alcohol, narcotic pain medication, etc.), might experience very strong effects and have a paranoid freakout, get into an accident, etc.

    Cannabis is not a single chemical, so it would be very difficult to determine and advertise potency. It’s easy to say, “contains 100 mg of caffeine,” but you can’t do that at all with a plant of widely varying potency that is composed of hundreds of different psychoactive cannabinoids.

    Furthermore, since the onset of smoked cannabis is rapid, it’s easy to smoke just enough to reach a desirable “high” and then stop. When ingesting, the onset is quite prolonged, so you wouldn’t know you took too much until it’s too late. This is one of the primary reasons medical cannabis advocates encourage smoking over ingestion, in spite of the health risks associated with smoking.

  7. #7 gilmore
    July 19, 2008

    Caffeine in donuts. . . Think of the productivity increase’s in our police departments.

  8. #8 Left_Wing_Fox
    July 21, 2008

    This is one of the primary reasons medical cannabis advocates encourage smoking over ingestion, in spite of the health risks associated with smoking.

    Reminds me of the Cookies that Ate Coquitlam.

    Co-worker’s aunt in British Columbia had tried making some cookies with her medical marijuana, and accidentally made them MUCH too strong. Even regular users who “accidentally” ate these were experiencing severe loss of motor control bordering on temporary paralysis.

    Apparently co-worker’s mother was telling him he just had to try one of these cookies, and was offering to mail them to him across Canada. Co-worker managed to covince them this would be a VERY BAD IDEA.

    Fun for a friday party, very bad idea for the morning commute.

  9. #9 g366
    July 22, 2008

    My libertarian side says “require labeling and then let them do whatever they choose.”

    However.

    The label is at the bakery, but once the donuts are put in a box, it’s not clear which ones are dosed and which aren’t.

    So you go to a bakery and buy donuts for the snack room at the office. Someone eats a few, not realizing the donuts are spiked. That person is not a regular user of caffeine, and has some kind of adverse reaction: heart palpitations (and goes to the hospital), a panic attack, insomnia that night leading to an auto accident the next day.

    Who is liable?

    More to the point, have we gone totally batshit insane?

    SPIKING FOOD WITH PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS THAT THE USER CAN’T DETECT BY TASTE???!!!!

    Let’s spike donuts with nicotine! Maybe 1 – 2 milligrams per donut, barely enough to get a buzz when ingested orally. Just a pleasant relaxed feeling, and a few hours later, the desire for another one of those donuts. There we go! Turnabout is fair play, eh?

  10. #10 bigdudeisme
    July 23, 2008

    I want coffee flavored doughnuts, with a high dose of caffeine, laced with enough nicotine that I don’t have to sneak outside for a smoke for several hours. This way, I have it all, my coffee, my caffeine buzz, and my smoke all rolled into one thing. I am good to go and I will have a productive work day. :) Maybe throw in a Snickers around 3:00 p.m. lol

    What is cannabis?

  11. #11 Lea
    July 23, 2008

    What is cannabis? Posted by: bigdudeisme

    LOL.
    It’s a perfect medicine that has NEVER killed anyone.
    It’s perfect for Inflammation, Gliomas, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, Dystonia, Hepatitis C, Diabetes, Pruritis, Osteoporosis, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Tourettes’ Syndrome, Hypertension, Sleep Apenea, GI Disorders, Incontinence, Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  12. #12 bigdudeisme
    July 23, 2008

    Lea:

    I was kidding around. Thanks for the listing though, I really didn’t know it helped with all of that. I think of it as helping people pass “go”, and go directly to “jail”.

    After all is is an unlawful substance. The authorities will prosecute you for possesion, cultivating, buying, or selling it. So, as long as that is true, you take a chance with your freedom or at least your pocketbook if you have to pay a hefty fine for being around the stuff. Why bother? Get labeled a criminal for what, a drug? Naw, not me. Give me cafeine, chocolate, a good cigarette, some carrot cake and I am content. Each to their own drug I guess though, with their own inherant risks.

  13. #13 BW
    July 23, 2008

    I’ve enjoyed the Snickers candy bars that contain caffeine……