Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not a parenting topic-- but "hot" nonetheless...

Okay, this is an issue I need you to weigh in on. I would love your opinion. And I have posted a poll-- so all of you in a reader, click through to vote.

My husband, Nick, hates coffee. He also hates soda. And tea. Basically he hates the taste of anything caffeinated. And when I say "hate," I mean he honestly cannot get it down his throat. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But there are instances in life, where you just need a little caffeine to get through a situation-- maybe a late meeting, maybe a long drive, etc.

So instead of drinking coffee or Coke in these instances, Nick takes a caffeine pill. He's kind of known for it. He calls it his "coffee." Now, this amounts to him taking it 1-2 times a week.

When people hear this, they give him a hard time. (Basically insinuating he's a drug addict.) I will agree that caffeine is a drug. But, do we say that to people who drink coffee everyday? Or to people who drink Coke everyday? Or hot tea, or iced tea?

Let me give you a breakdown of actual caffeine amounts:

Caffeine pill- 200mg
Starbucks tall (small) coffee- 260 mg
Coca Cola Classic (12oz)- 34.5mg
Tea, iced or brewed (8 oz)- 47 mg

So, let's process that info a little.
So lets say Nick ends up taking 2 of these pills a week-- 400 mg of caffeine per week.
  • Someone drinking one cup of the $1 Mc Donald's Iced Tea per day ingests 1809.5 mg of caffeine per week.
  • Someone drinking one small cup of Starbucks coffee each day ingests 1820 mg of caffeine per week.
  • Someone drinking one 20 ounce Coke a day ingests 402.5mg of caffeine per week. (Diet Coke actually has 40% more caffeine than regular.)
All of these are more caffeine than Nick ingests weekly. Yet people always act horrified that he'd take a caffeine pill once or twice a week. He's not addicted to caffeine. He doesn't need it everyday or get headaches without it (like I do.) But still. People think he's a weirdo.

What do you think?

Is it creepy to take caffeine pills instead of drinking coffee? Click through to vote at my blog.

And while you're pondering your vote, enjoy this little snippet a friend sent his way about caffeine pill addiction. :)


  1. I take coffee like a drug. Two cups each morning - seldom more than that. If I don't have it, I feel it.

    My question about caffeine pills would be at what rate the body absorbs the 200mg pill(s) vs how it absorbs caffeine through drinks.

    I grew up in the Middle East where it is very hot and humid. At our tennis courts there were salt pill dispensers for people to take so they did not get low on salt while exerting themselves in extreme heat. I don't remember the mg amount, but eventually they discovered - after several people dropped with heart attacks - that it was not the best quick fix for the body to take straight salt like that.

    Obviously, a bodily imbalance of salt is different from that of caffeine. But is it a more intense surge to take a pill vs. a drink?

  2. Great question Kris.

    I don't know.

    It's worth looking into.

  3. That is such a classic Saved By The Bell clip :)

    I drink a caffinated beverage everyday...and when I am not pregnant, I drink more than just one a day.

    I don't see the difference.

  4. my theory is that people have such a hard time finding something that allows them to look down on nick that this pill thing will have to do. at least that's what it is for me. :)

  5. Just a few questions...

    1. Does Nick cry like that if he can't take his pill?
    2. Does he take a pill with dessert?
    3. Does he refer to his Pharmacist as is "Barista" and does his "barista" know him by the brand of pill he takes.
    4. If he has 1 too many does he get the shakes?

    I think if he answers yes to any of these....he's as bad off as the rest of us

  6. never thought about this before. but then again, i drink coffee for the taste. it's always decaf (preggo/nursing or not). caffeine affects me way too easily, and with the insomnia, i just can't do it. but comparing the caf pill to drinking coffee, pop, etc for the caffeine - doesn't sound too much different. just a different way to get the same result, right? but i really can't say. i think the question of how the body absorbs it is something to think about. but i don't think anyone should consider him any kind of "addict" or weirdo b/c he takes in his caffeine a different way, esp when it's less of it.

    this coming from someone who doesn't do caffeine, though.

  7. 'But there are instances in life, where you just need a little caffeine to get through a situation...'

    I don't think this is true - caffeine is something we get addicted to (no matter what form it is), just like any other habit. I cannot have caffeine in large amounts (one coffee is a large amount). So, I don't drink coffee, regular tea or soda. And I even have to be very careful with 'caffeine free' teas and chocolate - caffeine gives me migraines.
    And I 'deal' with the little situations in life just fine without the added caffeine (including having to stay up late, wake up early, take long drives with 2 kids in a small car, etc).

    KC also does not drink coffee or soda (tea once in awhile), but he used to drink Mountain Dew excessively. He says that he feels better now without the added caffeine than with it.

    I don't think Nick is an addict, but is it really necessary?

    And if you enjoy caffeine - it's your choice how you ingest it. I do think it was good advice from chocolategravy to find out about the way caffeine is absorbed via coffee vs. pills. But, we all have our habits. Who are we to judge someone else' habits?

    Just an FYI - Caffeine in chocolate (4mg in milk chocolate and 20mg in one serving dark chocolate)

  8. Mr. Mangine can take Diet Kola Capsules instead and get them same benefit. All the ingredients of a soda, but no aspartame and no caramel. see http://www.dietkola.com

  9. I totally disagree with there are never situations that you don't need a little boost.
    I always fall asleep in a car after an hour. When I'm in the States I have to do a 3 hour drive that includes Alligator Alley. 75 miles of nothing but everglades and no radio.
    The last time, even though I slept great the night before, I started falling asleep at the wheel while driving with my 2 year old.
    Cokes didn't help.
    You better believe I took a little caffeine!
    You do what you must...

  10. I just want to know who Nick's supplier is...sometimes I need a pick-me-up and don't want to drink a beverage.

  11. My name is Andrea, and I have a caffeine addiction.

    ...I remember Olivia coming home from school after they had a 'drug awarness' week at school, telling me that I was in fact an addict. Well, they say the first step is admission...but that's it...I'll admit it, but I won't quit.
    I will also admit to resorting to an Excedrin now and again, to help me thru...(I still have kids getting up at night with nightmares now and again).

    Kris' question of absorption is interesting...but the amounts are still pretty low...


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