Dangerous Trend? Caffeine Laced Snacks

Cracker Jack'D Caffeinated Snack

Western civilization has been feeding its caffeine addiction for centuries. But what started out as coffee several times a day, is threatening to become a deluge of caffeinated food thrust upon us by eager food manufacturers. Smart marketers have sniffed the revenue potential of “caffeinated energy snacks” like bloodhounds on the chase.

Cracker Jacks has extended into an “adult” line called Cracker Jack’d, soon to hit the market. Its manufacturer, Frito Lay, asks consumers to “Get Jacked up and eat some Cracker Jacked or Jack’D.

Already on grocery shelves today, are caffeinated snacks such as Jelly Belly’s Extreme Sport Beans, water flavorings such as Mio Energy, and others. As if energy drinks aren’t enough of a threat to kids, now parents will have to worry about their tweens getting frazzled by a bag of popcorn.

Although caffeine in small amounts is safe, and even beneficial, too much of a good thing is not. Side effect start with insomnia, irritability, and upset stomach but can lead to accelerated heart rate, muscle tremors, and worse. Kids are usually not heavy coffee drinkers and their bodies react more adversely to a caffeine hit compared to Starbucks junkies.

Consumer advocacy group CSPI (The Center for Science in the Public Interest) is petitioning the FDA to enforce an existing regulation that supposedly limits the use of added caffeine in non cola beverages.

What we’d like to see is mandatory labeling of caffeine content on products. If a can of Coke has 45mg of caffeine, then a snack with 20mg is probably no biggie. But if a lunchtime treat is going to have 100mg of caffeine, how will that affect your child?

What do you think of this new caffeine trend?

  • http://www.visin.com Thomas Townsend

    This is another one of those issues that is best left to the Parent to decide. Similar in nature to the recent issue on the death of the teenager who drank energy drinks and dies of a heart ailment. Her parents are very much culpable in this since they let their daughter drink them. No way should a child – be allowed to drink these let alone the larger size that this poor girl drank. Going after the manufacture is ludicrous. We are becoming a nanny state, because parents won’t take responsibility as they should. If a parent decides to give a child cigarettes or alcohol it’s considered contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The same should apply to Caffeine & Sugar.

    • mary

      Don’t be so quick to blame the parents. Teenagers shop for themselves and often assume that if an item is for sale legally it is safe. Lots of adults have no idea how much caffeine is safe and wouldn’t even know that their teen picked this up on the way home from school. Do you work for the food industry or a libertarian think tank by any chance? I have heard that the term “nanny state” was created and/or embraced by them to appeal to people who don’t think for themselves.

      • http://www.visin.com Thomas Townsend

        Mary – No I don’t work for the Food Industry nor am I a Libertarian. I am an athlete and Father of (2) including a pre-teen. While you are correct on the assumption about teenagers, you are also far off base. Children, Teenagers or not often follow examples set at home. If the Parent allows kids to drink soda because they do to, including energy drinks then it is still the parents fault. My kids are allowed soft drinks at outings and special occasions. We don’t make a habit of it and we always encourage drinking water or milk. In fact this issue about Energy Drinks and caffeine has elicited dinner table dialog with our family. I occasionally drink sugar free energy drinks for the ergogenic effect it has on exercise, specifically to cardio. My kids know this and if they wanted an energy drink, I would discuss with them the pros and cons of them, But then again, at present I will not allow them until probably the age of 16 and I and my wife would monitor it for the effects before allowing them to further ingest them. The entire idea here his having dialog/communicating with your kids. Oh and if the adults don’t know….that’s just an excuse, It’s really no different than drugs and alcohol and I hope if you have kids your talking with them about those items too.