bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

1 Comment

Grocery store lessons: Steem Peanut butter

Image from pixabay, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Image from pixabay, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

One of my dietitian friends alerted me to this new product, caffeinated peanut butter, the other day and suggested a blog post might be in order.

Now, I love peanut butter. I also love coffee. Heck I even have a jar of vanilla espresso flavoured peanut butter in my cupboard right now. But I still fail to understand why anyone would ever think that caffeinated peanut butter would be a good idea. It boggles my mind.

According to their website,  this caffeinated peanut butter is for you if you’re stuck with only access to horrible coffee or don’t want to lug your bodum camping but want to avoid those pesky caffeine withdrawal fuelled headaches. Essentially, if you’re seriously addicted to caffeine, instead of considering cutting back, you can just tote a jar of peanut butter around with you everywhere. People with peanut allergies be damned.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind bringing along a bodum or percolator when I’m camping. They don’t take up a whole lot of space and on chilly mornings a hot beverage is going to hit the spot a lot more than a spoonful of peanut butter. And if you’re so tired that you’re nodding off behind the wheel get off the freaking road. I find it horrifying that people might be popping spoonfuls of peanut butter while driving to prevent themselves from falling asleep at the wheel.

What’s even scarier about this product is the fact that a single serving contains 150 mg of caffeine. I’m assuming that a single serving is the standard two tablespoons. That’s a lot of caffeine in a little peanut butter. Considering that most people probably use more than that (sadly, I can’t find any statistics indicating how much people usually spread on their bread) you could easily be getting upwards of half the daily recommended maximum dose of caffeine (that’s 400 mg, or about three 8 oz cups of coffee) in your PB&J alone.

Despite the warnings on the website about not feeding the peanut butter to your dog, I worry about the potential for children to consume an excessive amount of caffeine if they were to get their hands on a jar. A single serving of STEEM contains more caffeine than children at any age can safely consume. Lest you think that I’m overreacting, there can be serious consequences to caffeine overdose; including, seizure and death. Even without overdosing, we don’t know what the long-term effects of caffeine consumption in children are. We do know that adequate sleep is essential for good health and that most children are not getting enough sleep. Caffeine consumption can be used to counteract the effects of insufficient sleep, in turn leading to decreased sleep at night, and can quickly become a vicious cycle. We also don’t know what the long-term physiological effects of caffeine exposure may be in children.

As far as I’m concerned, the answer to the question “who is STEEM for” is no one.

Leave a comment

Getting your caffeine in the shower


Have you ever heard of caffeine-containing body wash and soap? I’d heard of using coffee grounds as a fat-reducing, exfoliating scrub before (spoiler: rubbing coffee on your body will not help you lose weight, it does exfoliate quite nicely though but also makes a mess in the tub). Anyway… Until last month I’d never heard of caffeine-containing body wash. Silly me, I should have known that it would exist.

Upon hearing about it, naturally, my first question was if we could even absorb caffeine topically. As it turns out, yes, we can. Of course, my next question was whether or not one could absorb enough caffeine from a body wash to have any appreciable effect. Short answer: probably not. The study in the previous link showed that about 50% of caffeine applied topically can be absorbed through hair follicles and caffeine shows-up in blood after only five minutes of topical application when follicles are open. A nice warm shower would ensure that your follicles are open for maximum absorption. However, I don’t know about you but I don’t really want to stand around for at least five minutes to get a little bit of caffeine from my soap. I’d hazard to guess that for the amount of time that most of us spend covered in soap suds that we’d absorb very little caffeine from our soap.

While caffeinated soaps and body washes may make a fun gimmicky gift for the caffeine aficionado in your life, if you really want to keep them awake you’re better off giving them some good old-fashioned coffee beans.


Would you “do the dew” for breakfast?

Well, I honestly didn’t see this one coming: Pepsi has launched a new Mountain Dew breakfast beverage called Kickstart. In the official press release the company states: “Kickstart presents a fresh alternative to the age-old morning question of “coffee or juice,” by offering the best of all worlds. It combines the great taste of Mountain Dew with five percent real fruit juice and just the right amount of caffeine.” Ummm… what? This sounds like neither coffee nor juice to me. Coffee is so much more than caffeine and 5% juice does not sound much like orange juice to me.

Clearly I’m out of touch with the average Pepsi consumers who told the company “they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages”. Even if this is what they were asking for, I’m not sure that 5% juice and 92 mg of caffeine in a soda were exactly what they had in mind.

Kickstart will be available in stores (at least in the US, I’m not sure about Canada) toward the end of the month in both orange citrus and fruit punch flavours. Personally, I plan to stick with my coffee.

1 Comment

ISSN fumbles the ball on energy drinks

Earlier this month the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) released a position stand on energy drinks. My immediate assumption was that they were going to discourage their use. I, foolishly, assumed this because the use of energy drinks may be linked to a number of deaths, as well as other dangerous side effects.

The actual position stand stated that they may be beneficial to athletic performance due to the caffeine content. Although users should be aware that calories consumed may outweigh calories burned when using these drinks. They cautioned that children should not use them without parental supervision and education on the potential side effects. Seriously?! That’s it!!? I have heard about parents pushing energy drinks on their children prior to sporting events. I don’t think that parental approval is a reasonable measure. How do they expect parents to be appropriately educated regarding the risks? Especially when their own statement primarily extolls the virtues of energy drinks.

I’m extremely disappointed by this statement. The ISSN is a respected organization and they wasted a valuable opportunity to take a stand against the use of energy drinks. At a minimum, I think that energy drinks should be regulated like cigarettes and should only be available to people when they’re at least 18 years of age.