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Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in Foods: A Comprehensive Review on Consumption, Functionality, Safety, and Regulatory Matters

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ABSTRACT: 

Caffeine ranks as one of the top most commonly consumed dietary ingredients throughout the world. It is naturally found in coffee beans, cacao beans, kola nuts, guarana berries, and tea leaves including yerba mate. The total daily intake, as well as the major source of caffeine varies globally; however, coffee and tea are the 2 most prominent sources. Soft drinks are also a common source of caffeine as well as energy drinks, a category of functional beverages. Moderate caffeine consumption is considered safe and its use as a food ingredient has been approved, within certain limits, by numerous regulatory agencies around the world. Performance benefits attributed to caffeine include physical endurance, reduction of fatigue, and enhancing mental alertness and concentration. Caffeine has also been recently linked to weight loss and consequent reduction of the overall risks for developing the metabolic syndrome. However, the caloric contribution of caffeine-sweetened beverages needs to be considered in the overall energy balance. Despite all these benefits the potential negative effects of excessive caffeine intake should also be considered, particularly in children and pregnant women.
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Keywords: caffeine; fatigue; functional beverages; mental alertness; metabolic syndrome; regulation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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