Where Does Caffeine Lurk?

Where Does Caffeine Lurk?

Many Foods, Beverages and Medications Have Caffeine

Perhaps your doctor has suggested to you that it would be best to reduce or eliminate caffeine while you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant.  You might think that only means giving up your daily morning coffee or your steaming mug of English Breakfast tea.  However, caffeine can be found in many foods and beverages besides coffee and tea. To give you a better idea of all the places caffeine lurks, here are some sources you should be aware of right away if planning on pregnancy, or if you are already expecting:

  • Foods1,2 & Beverages2:
    • Cocoa/chocolate
    • Coffee
    • Tea- Black tea, green tea, chai, and even some other herbal teas. Matcha green tea contains much more caffeine than other green teas. Some herbal teas are caffeine-free, which is encouraging if you desire a warm, soothing drink without the caffeine stimulant rushing through your system, and into your baby’s bloodstream. Make sure you look carefully at labels, and seek out the safest choices.
    • Energy drinks
    • Carbonated beverages, including many sodas
    • Sports drinks
    • Flavored water
    • Diet shakes
  • Medications1 (over-the-counter and prescription):
    • Pain relievers
    • Menstrual relief tablets
    • Weight-loss supplements

Caffeine may not always be labeled if it occurs naturally in the food or beverage. For example, a chocolate bar doesn’t commonly state that it contains caffeine, yet it does - thanks to the cocoa beans in the ingredients.  Other sources of caffeine which may appear on a label include:

  • Guarana
  • Yerba Mate
  • Kola nuts/Cola

If you aren’t sure if a product has caffeine, check the label if available. Some beverages like coffee, tea, and soda/pop do have caffeine by default, unless otherwise labelled. Simply pay attention to labels, and keep the list above in mind. Detoxifying your body from caffeine is good for you, and best for your baby, too! 

1. CSPI. Caffeine Content of Food & Drugs [Webpage] 2009. 2009 [cited 2010 March 09]. http://cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm.
2. Caffeine in Food. 2010 [cited 2010 October, 24]. http://www.energyfiend.com/caffeine-in-candy.
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