What's Under the Cap?
CaffeineCaffeine is naturally present in numerous plants and we have been consuming it for centuries. It is one of the most researched ingredients in our food supply and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continually reviews and assures the safety of caffeine in the food supply.
The amount of caffeine in your beverage can vary greatly and can depend on factors such as brewing and grinding for coffee and tea as well as the type of soft drink consumed. See below for average levels of caffeine per 8-fl. oz. serving.1 As you can see, most soft drinks with caffeine have about the same levels as tea, and most energy drinks have a similar range as coffee.
Coffee – caffeinated, brewed: 75-165 mg per 8 fl oz serving
Tea – black or green, brewed: 25-47 mg per 8 fl oz serving
Soda – caffeinated, all types: 17-46 mg per 8 fl oz serving
Chocolate – milk or beverage: 1-16 mg per 8 fl oz serving
Energy Drinks: 27-164 mg per 8 fl oz serving
If you’re curious how much caffeine is in your next drink, take a look at the back of the label. While manufacturers are not required by the FDA to include the amount of caffeine in beverage labels, we include the amount of caffeine on our products, either on the ingredient label or with a “caffeine free” statement where appropriate.
Bottom Line: Caffeine is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply, and the FDA has determined that consuming caffeine in moderate amounts is safe for consumers.
1. Mitchell, D.C., Knight, C.A., Hockenberry, J. Teplansky, R., Hartman, T.J. 2014. Beverage caffeine intakes in the U.S. Food Chem. Toxicol. 63, 136-142.
See Our Caffeine-Free Products
Low-Calorie SweetenersLow-calorie sweeteners are ingredients reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are used to sweeten and enhance the flavor of beverages while providing few or no calories. These sweeteners include aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame potassium and stevia leaf extract, and they are among the most studied ingredients in history. The American Heart Association,1 American Diabetes Association,1 and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic2 position statements affirm that low-calorie sweeteners may be used in a structured diet plan to replace added sugar intake, leading to reductions in energy intake and weight loss.
Recognizing that consumers want options, we offer choices for consumers in the sweeteners used in our beverages, including beverages sweetened with cane sugar, with low-calorie sweeteners and with natural sweeteners.
Bottom Line: The safety of low-calorie sweeteners has been validated by a multitude of credible studies and worldwide health organizations.
1. Gardner C, Wylie-rosett J, Gidding SS, et al. Nonnutritive sweeteners: current use and health perspectives: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Circulation. 2012;126(4):509-19.
2. Fitch C, Keim KS. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(5):739-58
Sucralose is a low-calorie sweetener used to add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 19981 and is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose is not metabolized by the body and is eliminated from the body unchanged. It has been extensively studied and proven safe, with more than 110 safety studies reviewed by the FDA before approval.2
1. CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21
2. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States (Sucralose)
Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener used to add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in beverages in 19831 and is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. More than 200 studies over the course of three decades have confirmed and reaffirmed the safety of aspartame. In addition to the FDA,2 aspartame has been reviewed and determined to be safe by the European Food Safety Authority,3 the World Health Organization, and the regulatory bodies of more than 100 countries.4 Contrary to anecdotal reports, a recent clinical trial found that those with self-reported symptoms attributed to aspartame experienced the same symptoms whether they consumed aspartame or no-aspartame in the test samples. The authors concluded that this provides assurance that aspartame does not have any detectable psychological or metabolic effects.5
Aspartame consists of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. When we consume aspartame, it is completely broken down by enzymes in the digestive system (and does not enter the bloodstream as aspartame) into the two amino acids and minuscule amounts methanol. We consume greater amounts of these breakdown products in common foods like meat, fruit and vegetables than in beverages containing aspartame.
Bottom Line: Aspartame is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply, and the safety of aspartame has been validated by the FDA, the European Food Safety Authority and more than 200 studies over 40 years.
1. Federal Register I Vol. 48. No. 132 I Friday. July 8. 1983 I Rules and Regulations
2. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States (Aspartame)
3. EFSA Journal | Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of aspartame (E 951) as a food additive
4. Calorie Control Council Web site (Aspartame)
5. Sathyapalan T, Thatcher NJ, Hammersley R, et al. Aspartame sensitivity? A double blind randomised crossover study. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0116212.
6. Schiffman SS, Buckley CE, Sampson HA, et al. Aspartame and susceptibility to headache. N Engl J Med. 1987;317(19):1181-5.
7. Spiers PA, Sabounjian L, Reiner A, Myers DK, Wurtman J, Schomer DL. Aspartame: neuropsychologic and neurophysiologic evaluation of acute and chronic effects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68(3):531-7.
Saccharin is a low-calorie sweetener used to add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. It was first discovered in 1879 and is 300 times sweeter than sugar.1 Saccharin is not metabolized by the body and is eliminated from the body unchanged. More than 30 human studies have affirmed the safety of saccharin consumption, and saccharin is approved for use in more than 100 countries.2
1. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States (Saccharin)
2. Calorie Control Council Web site (Saccharin)
STEVIA LEAF EXTRACT
Stevia leaf extract is a sweet extract made from the leaves of the stevia plant and is used to add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. Stevia is 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar.1 Stevia leaf extract is metabolized to steviol and eliminated from the body as steviol glucuronide; these metabolized components do not accumulate in the body.2 More than 100 scientific studies support the safety of stevia in humans.
1. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States (Steviol Glycosides)
2. Carakostas MC, Curry LL, Boileau AC, Brusick DJ. Overview: the history, technical function and safety of rebaudioside A, a naturally occurring steviol glycoside, for use in food and beverages. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46 Suppl 7:S1-S10.
Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) was first approved by the FDA in 19881 and is a low-calorie sweetener used to add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Ace-K is not broken down by the body and is eliminated from the body unchanged. More than 90 studies around the world have repeatedly demonstrated the safety of Ace-K.
1. CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 2
2. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States (Acesulfame Potassium)
High Fructose Corn SyrupHigh fructose corn syrup is a liquid sweetener that combines two simple sugars – fructose and glucose – and is very similar in composition and sweetness to sucrose, or table sugar. You might be surprised to learn that HFCS is not actually high in fructose, but instead contains about 42% fructose and 53% glucose. HFCS is high in fructose only compared to regular corn syrup, which do not contain fructose (mainly glucose). By comparison, sucrose contains 50% fructose and 50% glucose and is also often used in liquid form. Even though fructose and glucose are metabolized through different pathways, the source of these sugars, whether from HFCS or sucrose, does not matter in the body.1
The weight of the scientific evidence consistently shows that HFCS does not differ from sucrose or other nutritive sweeteners on metabolic effects like blood glucose, insulin, and postprandial triglyceride levels.1 And, a preponderance of scientific evidence proves that HFCS is no more likely to cause weight gain than any other source of calories and is not a unique contributor to obesity.2
Bottom Line: HFCS is essentially the same as table sugar in sweetness and composition and is metabolized by the body in much the same way.
1. Fitch C, Keim KS. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(5):739-58.
2. White JS. Straight talk about high-fructose corn syrup: what it is and what it ain't. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(6):1716S-1721S.
HydrationAll beverages are hydrating, and caffeinated and carbonated beverages hydrate just as well as water.2 A 2003 study compared the effects of hydration from drinking water to the effects from drinking juice, soft drinks, and coffee, with no water. There were no differences in hydration between the two groups.2 In fact, diet soft drinks are 99% water. Simply put, a variety of beverages including juice, regular and diet soft drinks, water, tea, milk, and coffee can contribute to total fluid intake to help meet the body’s hydration needs.3
Proper hydration is essential for maintaining good health. Fluids from beverages and foods are used by the body to control body temperature and to transport oxygen and vital nutrients to our cells. According to the Institute of Medicine,1 adult men and women should aim for 11 to 16 cups of total fluids, while children and adolescents need about 9 to 14 cups per day. Physically active individuals and older adults have increased fluid needs and should consume more fluids than the recommended guidelines.
Bottom Line: All beverages are hydrating, and caffeinated and carbonated beverages hydrate just as well as water.
1. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate (2005)
2. Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(5):591-600.
3. Tucker MA, Ganio MS, Adams JD, et al. Hydration Status over 24-H Is Not Affected by Ingested Beverage Composition. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;:1-10.
4. Maughan RJ, Griffin J. Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2003;16(6):411-20.
5. Hydration and health promotion. Proceedings of the International Life Sciences Institute North America Conference on Hydration and Health Promotion. November 29-30, 2006. Washington, DC, USA. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26(5 Suppl):529S-623S.
Sugar AlcoholsSugar alcohols, such as erythritol, sorbital and xylitol, are unique carbohydrates that add sweetness to a food or beverage but contain fewer calories than sugar (and don’t actually contain alcohol). Sugar alcohols have a similar level of sweetness as table sugar, so they often are used instead of sugar.
For reference, a typical carbohydrate like sugar has four calories per gram. That means a beverage that contains 20 grams of sugar would have 80 calories, but one using a sugar alcohol like erythritol in its place would have four calories.
Sugar alcohols are labeled a little differently than other sugars on the nutrition facts panel. They have their own special line in the panel because they don’t count as a “sugar” but they do count as a carbohydrate.
ColorsMany of the ingredients we use in our beverages have natural variations in their appearance. This natural variation, along with other factors that influence appearance, are some of the main reasons we use colors in our products. Colors help us ensure our products always appear attractive and consistent in appearance for our consumers. Color additives are divided into two main categories: certified and exempt colors. Certified colors are food colors that are listed as the color followed by a number – for example “Red 40.” Exempt colors are sometimes referred to as natural colors because they are typically derived from mineral or plant sources, such as the beta carotene from carrots for an orange color. All colors undergo thorough safety evaluations by the FDA before they are used in foods or beverages. And in 2011, the FDA reviewed all the available scientific data and concluded that there is no link between certified food colors and hyperactivity and other behavior issues in children.1
1. Quick Minutes: Food Advisory Committee Meeting March 30-31, 2011
CaloriesCalories are the fuel you need every day. They are a measure of energy from the carbohydrates, fat and protein in the food you eat and beverages you drink. A calorie is a calorie1 – what’s important is not the source of the calories you consume, but the amount. Weight control is primarily a function of balancing the calories you take in with physical activity, so managing calories in and calories out is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
1. Buchholz AC, Schoeller DA. Is a calorie a calorie? Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 79 (suppl): 899S-906S.
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SugarsSugar refers to a type of carbohydrate that occurs naturally, such as the sugar found in juices, vegetables, grains and milk, and the sugar can be added to foods or beverages, such as table sugar, corn syrup and honey. Whether naturally occurring (intrinsic) or added (extrinsic), sugar is sugar. Naturally occurring and added sugars are identical and are metabolized by the body in the same way.1
Sugar does have a calorie component, and it’s important to ensure that you balance the calories you take in with the calories you consume to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That said, the consumption of added and total sugars has significantly declined since 1999.2 And because sugar is sugar, added sugars do not uniquely cause obesity and are no more likely to cause weight gain than any other source of calories.3
1. Rippe JM, Angelopoulos TJ. Sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and fructose, their metabolism and potential health effects: what do we really know?. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):236-45.
2. Welsh JA, Sharma AJ, Grellinger L, Vos MB. Consumption of added sugars is decreasing in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(3):726-34.
3. Fitch C, Keim KS. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(5):739-58.
See Our Sugar-Free Products