The Alarming Thing That’s Probably Hiding in Your Coffee

A strong cup of joe (or two) can be a trusty get-through-this-crazy-day helper—but there may be more than coffee beans and a jolt of caffeine hiding in your cup. “Fillers” like wheat, soy beans, barley, rye, acai seeds, brown sugar, corn, and even sticks are often present in coffee grounds, according to new research presented this week at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Why are these extras ending up in your cup? Since things like drought and plant disease have decreased coffee output, these unnatural additions can be used to help the coffee go further—and boost waning profits for the companies that make it.

The Alarming Thing That's Probably Hiding in Your Coffee

While these fillers are largely harmless, there is potentially cause for concern. “Wheat and soy beans are two of the major food allergens listed by the FDA,” says Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.S., a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. The thing is, it’s not like you’re going to see a wayward stick floating in your mug; it’s all ground up together, so it can be hard to tell if you’re getting straight coffee bean or a few unwelcome extras.

Thankfully, science is on the case. Brazilian researchers are working on a process to evaluate the makeup of coffee and determine whether it’s counterfeit before it reaches consumers. They have a vested interest in this field of research since Brazil is a top coffee-producing country, making 55 million bags of it per year. (The 2014 projection stands at 45 million, which is about 42 billion fewer cups.)

The researchers hope to use liquid chromatography, a powerful process that identifies the different elements of a liquid, to suss out how many fillers are in coffee. Based on the prevalence of impurities, scientists will have a better idea whether they’re dealing with small amounts that occur in nature and slipped through the sorting process—or large amounts that were purposely introduced to add to the bottom line.

“With our test, it is now possible to know with 95 percent accuracy if coffee is pure or has been tampered with,” Suzana Lucy Nixdorf, Ph.D., lead researcher at University of Londrina in Brazil, said in a statement.

So, what to do until the test is perfected? “Unless you’re very allergic to one of the fillers, there isn’t too much cause to worry,” says Salge Blake. If you are allergic, you may want to steer clear of coffee until researchers have more information to report. And if you’re not allergic but are still concerned about fillers, it stands to reason that you’d be better off buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself (either at the grocery store or at home) since you’ll avoid the potential for anything extra being mixed in without your knowing about it.

Source: women’s health

Caffeine powder dangers in spotlight after teen’s death

Logan Stiner

A few weeks before their prom king’s death, students at an Ohio high school had attended an assembly on narcotics that warned about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers.

But it was one of the world’s most widely accepted drugs that killed Logan Stiner – a powdered form of caffeine so potent that as little as a single teaspoon can be fatal.

The teen’s sudden death in May has focused attention on the unregulated powder and drawn a warning from federal health authorities urging consumers to avoid it.

“I don’t think any of us really knew that this stuff was out there,” said Jay Arbaugh, superintendent of the Keystone Local Schools.

The federal Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it’s investigating caffeine powder and will consider taking regulatory action. The agency cautioned parents that young people could be drawn to it.

An autopsy found that Stiner had a lethal amount of caffeine in his system when he died May 27 at his home in LaGrange, Ohio, southwest of Cleveland.

Stiner, a wrestler, had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, as much as 23 times the amount found in a typical coffee or soda drinker, according to the county coroner.

His mother has said she was unaware her son took caffeine powder. He was just days away from graduation and had planned to study at the University of Toledo.

Caffeine powder is sold as a dietary supplement, so it’s not subject to the same federal regulations as certain caffeinated foods. Users add it to drinks for a pick-me-up before workouts or to control weight gain.

A minuscule amount packs a punch.

A mere one-sixteenth of a teaspoon can contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine, roughly the equivalent of two large cups of coffee. That means a heaping teaspoon could kill, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

The powder is almost impossible to measure with common kitchen tools, the FDA said.

“The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small,” FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren said.

Glatter said he has seen several younger patients experience complications from caffeine in the last few months. Some arrive with rapid heart rates.

“They’re starting to latch onto the powders more because they see it as a more potent way to lose weight,” Glatter said.

Health officials worry about caffeine powder’s potential popularity among exercise enthusiasts and young people seeking an energy boost.

Dr. Henry Spiller directs a poison control center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Over a week or so this month, the center took reports of three people hospitalized for misusing caffeine powder.

“I can’t believe you can buy this,” Spiller said. “Honestly, I mean, it’s frightening. It makes no sense to me.”

Federal investigations have recently prompted some companies to pull products with added caffeine.

Last year, Wrigley halted sales and marketing of Alert caffeinated gum after discussions with the FDA. In 2010, the agency forced manufacturers of alcoholic caffeinated beverages to cease production of those drinks.

Authorities have also pledged to take action if they are able to link deaths to consumption of energy drinks. Hospitalizations from those drinks have been on the rise.

The number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks doubled – from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Most of the cases involved teens or young adults.

A full teaspoon of caffeine powder could contain 3,200 milligrams of caffeine.

In that concentrated amount, a person can experience adverse effects in a matter of minutes, said Dr. Bob Hoffman, a New York University medical toxicologist.

The brain becomes alert, then agitated and confused. The heartbeat picks up and can become dangerously irregular. A person can suffer nausea, vomiting and potentially a seizure.

“The thing about caffeine is just because you see it every day, just because it’s naturally occurring – it comes from a plant – doesn’t mean that it’s safe,” Hoffman said.

Source: Albuquerque journal

Nutritional do’s and don”ts for pregnant women!

You’ve just received the good news that a little one is on the way! Congratulations, you’re pregnant!

Pregnancy is beautiful, magical and even empowering! Whether you are elated or in a wee bit of shock, remember pregnancy is an immense physical, psychological and emotional experience whatever the circumstances surrounding it.

Once it sinks in that you are on your way to motherhood you may find yourself thinking, what”s next? Expect a lot of changes in your lifestyle which include some dietary modifications because your growing baby is absorbing everything you”re eating.
You will be snowed under with advice from family, friends and yes, even complete strangers about what foods are safe and what aren’t during pregnancy, enough to confuse anyone.

First and foremost you’ll need protein and calcium for your baby’s tissues and bones, extra folic acid to protect against neural tube birth defects and iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby. Although it is imperative that you discuss your diet with your doctor, we at MedGuru give you some dos and don’ts that will help get you started!

Foods to eat during pregnancy:-
Whole grains
Try incorporate whole grains that are fortified with folic acid and iron into your daily diet. Eat oatmeal during breakfast, whole-grain bread at lunch and brown rice for dinner.

Leafy greens, fruits
Increase intake of green veggies broccoli and spinach, food items like muesli and fruits like Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries which are a good source of iron that a woman”s body needs to produce all the blood needed to supply nutrition to the placenta.

Apart from being rich in protein, eggs provide amino acids, vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for baby”s brain development. Refrain from eating under-cooked or raw eggs as they may be tainted with bacteria.

Sea food
Fish, touted for omega-3 fatty acids that help the baby”s brain development and eyes is a good meal choice during pregnancy. It is absolutely safe to consume up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish, such as salmon per week. Try it grilled, broiled, or as a salad.

Low-fat yogurt
Low-fat yogurt is rich in calcium, high in protein and it sans the added sugar of flavored yogurts. Blend it with fruit into smoothies or sprinkle it with nuts or muesli for a tasty crunchy snack.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy:-
Liver or liver-containing products such as liver pâté, liver sausage or haggis should be eaten only occasionally as they contain large amounts of vitamin A which may cause damage to the embryo.

Avoid drinking too much of coffee, tea and colas as caffeine based beverages may affect the growth of baby.

Skip unpasteurized cheeses, blue-veined cheeses like brie or camembert to avert the possible risk of transmission of infectious diseases such as Listeria. However, varieties such as cheddar and mozzarella can help in meeting your calcium requirements.

Source: med guru

Shun snacks that affect a good night’s sleep

Do some bedtime snacks help you sleep better? Perhaps not.

Several studies suggest that eating a small snack a few hours before bedtime may help you sleep by preventing hunger from waking you.

But are there snacks that guarantee you sleep?

Some people say that cereal with milk, peanut butter on toast, and cheese with crackers are good bedtime snacks because they combine carbohydrates with protein.

The theory is based on the fact that tryptophan, an amino acid, makes you sleepy.

A new research done on the sedating effects of tryptophan needed up to 15 grams of tryptophan to create an effect.

And you would need to eat more than a pound of turkey to get just one gram of tryptophan!

To get a good night’s sleep, it is more important to avoid foods like high-fat foods, garlic-flavoured and highly spiced foods, alcohol, caffeine and any beverages before bed, reported.

Other than foods, sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time schedule helps keep you in sync with your body’s circadian clock, a 24-hour internal rhythm affected by sunlight.

Try not to nap too much during the day – you might be less sleepy at night.

Exercise at regular times each day. Try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime, said the report.

Source: DNA India

Are you tea or coffee addict? Check for caffeine use disorder

If you can’t live without your cup of coffee early morning or that tea to prevent the after-lunch slump, you may be suffering from caffeine use disorder.

Researchers at American University in Washington, DC, indicate that more people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms.

“They are unable to reduce caffeine consumption even if they have another condition that may be impacted by caffeine – such as a pregnancy, a heart condition or a bleeding disorder,” said psychology professor Laura Juliano at American University.

The negative effects of caffeine are often not recognised as such because its consumption is socially acceptable and is well integrated into our customs and routines.

“While many people can consume caffeine without harm, for some it produces negative effects, physical dependence, interferes with daily functioning, and can be difficult to give up, which are signs of problematic use,” Juliano added.

The study, published in the Journal of Caffeine Research, shows how widespread the caffeine dependence is and the significant physical and psychological symptoms experienced by habitual caffeine users.

Caffeine is found in everything from coffee, tea and soda to OTC pain relievers, chocolate, and now a whole host of food and beverage products branded with some form of the word ‘energy’.

“Genetics research may help us to better understand the effects of caffeine on health and pregnancy as well as individual differences in caffeine consumption and sensitivity,” Juliano contended.

Based on current research, Juliano advises that healthy adults should limit caffeine consumption to no more than two to three cups.

Pregnant women and people who regularly experience anxiety or insomnia – as well as those with high blood pressure, heart problems, or urinary incontinence – should also limit caffeine.

Source: khaleej times

Coffee may Help Boost Blood Flow to Fingers

Drinking coffee can certainly help you stay awake during that work meeting or get energized before a test. However, a recent study shows that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee a day can help boost blood flow in fingers.

Researchers found that the inner lining of the body’s smaller blood vessels could actually produce more blood flow with the help of a caffeinated drink.

In fact, they note that participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee a day had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared to those who just drank a decaffeinated cup.

“This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health,” lead study researcher Masso Tsutsui, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist and professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukus in Okinawa Japan said, via a press release.

Previous findings have suggested that drinking coffee can help lower the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and that high doses of caffeine may improve the function of larger arteries.

Researchers had each participant–ranging in age from 22 to 30 who were not regular coffee drinkers–drink one five-ounce cup of Joe a day or a decaffeinated cup. Following, their finger blood flow was measured via a non-invasive technique for gauging circulation, known as flowmetry. This experiment was repeated with each type of coffee for two days.

The researchers found that when compared to decaffeinated coffee, the caffeinated version was able to help raise participants’ blood pressure and improve vessel inner lining function.

Though it is unclear at this time how this improvement occurred, researchers hope that caffeine may help open blood vessels in order to potentially reduce inflammation.

More information regarding the study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013.

Source: Science World Report