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Health alert: Where caffeine hides (Part two ) 5/12
(This article is adapted from the May 2012 ShopSmart magazine.)

Part one: Kicking the caffeine habit | Part two: Where caffeine hides

Consumer Reports’ nutrition pros took a look at some widely sold foods, drinks, over-the-counter drugs, and snacks to see how caffeinated they really are. Finding the amounts of caffeine lurking inside wasn’t always easy, which is why it’s tricky to monitor how much caffeine you’re taking in.

The experts looked at labels and websites and called manufacturers when information wasn’t otherwise available. What they found was eye-opening: There can be big differences among very similar products, such as cups of coffee, varieties of tea, and cans of soda. For example a Starbucks venti (20-ounce) Bold Pick of the Day contained a pulse-revving 415 milligrams of caffeine, that’s 70 percent more caffeine than the amount in the same size cup of Dunkin’ Donuts regular coffee!

Diet Coke ( 12 ounce can) had more caffeine than the amount in a same size can of Diet Pepsi (47 milligrams compared with 35 milligrams per 12-fluid-ounce can).

Other differences: A bar of dark chocolate ( 1.45 ounces) had 25 mg of caffeine, more than a comparable milk chocolate bar, and a 6-ounce container of Dannon coffee yogurt had the same caffeine content—30 milligrams—as just 4 ounces of Häagen-Dazs frozen coffee yogurt.

They also found caffeine in some places you’d never think to look, like beef jerky, chewing gum, and lip balm.

To help you avoid overdoing it, here’s a list of the caffeine content in some popular brands:

    Starbucks Bold Venti 20 ounces 415 mg
Dunkin Donuts Large 20 ounces 244 mg
Cup of Espresso 2 ounces 127 mg
Mug of Plain Coffee 8 ounces 95 mg
Mug of Decaf 8 ounces 2 mg

    Snapple Lemon Tea 16 ounces 62 mg
Lipton Tea
(orange pekoe cut black tea)
1 bag 55mg
Lipton Green Tea 1 bag 35mg

Energy Drinks
    Bawls Guarana 16 ounces 104 mg
Glaceau Vitaminwater Energy
Tropical Citrus
12 ounces 30 mg
Red Bull 8 ounces 76 mg
Rockstar 8 ounces 80 mg

Sodas (all 12-ounce cans)
    Pepsi Max 69 mg
Mountain Dew 54 mg
Diet Coke 46.5 mg
Pepsi 38 mg
Diet Pepsi 35 mg
Coke 34 mg

    Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch 1/2 cup 42 mg
Dannon All Natural Coffee Low Fat Yogurt 6 ounces 30 mg
Haagen-Dazs Coffee Frozen Yogurt 1/2 cup 30 mg
Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar 1.5 bars 37.5 mg
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar 3 bars 36 mg
Jolt Gum 2 pieces 55 mg*
*Package states that two pieces "contain about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee." A company representative told Consumer Reports that two pieces contain 55 mg.

Over-the-counter medicines
    Dexatrim Max Daytime Appetite Control 1 caplet 200mg
Vivarin 1 tablet 200 mg
Bayer Extra Strength Back & Body Pain 1 caplet 32.5 mg

Related links

Health alert: Kicking the caffeine habit. 5/12

Waking up to caffeine. 10/11

Part one: Kicking the caffeine habit | Part two: Where caffeine hides

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