Why we drink coffee, not soda

The quick teaser on a story on NPR this morning says it all: “Each day people consume a drug derived from a natural insecticide. That drug is caffeine.”

And that’s why we only get our caffeine from coffee (and maybe chocolate here and there). Remember: “No coffee, no prana.” Not: “No insecticide-derived caffeine, no prana.”

For the full interview with author Murray Carpenter, click here. His book, “Caffeinated,” comes out today. His pretty stripped-down webpage is here.

And from the Amazon book description:

The 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.

OK, time for a second cup.

UPDATE: Bobbie had more opportunity than I to hear this guy making the rounds on Wednesday. Here’s a bit from the Marketplace story:

The soft drink industry is a $70 billion industry  and Carpenter estimates that coffee is another $30 billion.

“It’s a huge business,” he says.

And that’s because the effect caffeine has on us isn’t too different from nicotine. We reach for a daily cup of coffee or can of soda because we’re addicted.

“I think that they consistently downplay the importance of caffeine in their products, in terms of how appealing it makes the products to the consumer.

And here’s really to out point, from the Sun Journal in Maine (he lives in Maine):

The focus of the book is not coffee as much as the substance slipped into soft drinks and so-called “energy drinks.”

“A lot of people have written beautifully about coffee and I’m glad they have. But the powdered caffeine industry has gotten so little coverage,” Carpenter says. “It took me so long to figure it out. It was a real puzzle.”

The pieces started to come together with Monsanto. The Missouri chemical giant made caffeine for Coca-Cola starting in 1905, Carpenter discovered.

Time for cup No. 3!

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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