Natural vs Synthetic Caffeine
Caffeine comes in all shapes, sizes and products. But, what’s the best way for us to get our fix? Is there any difference between the hit we get from tea, coffee or energy drinks? In all of these products caffeine is the energy boost that you crave. It helps burn…
Caffeine comes in all shapes, sizes and products. But, what’s the best way for us to get our fix? Is there any difference between the hit we get from tea, coffee or energy drinks?
In all of these products caffeine is the energy boost that you crave. It helps burn fat and gives you the “lift” you need to be more alert. What might not be obvious, is that caffeine is a broad product class and there are predominantly 2 different types that have profoundly different characteristics and effects.
Here is a quick summary on the different types, their sources, effects and benefits for you to take away…
Lesser known to the average coffee addict, synthetic caffeine was in fact developed in 1942 by Nazi Germany. Suffering under the embargos of foreign trade, Germany was unable to import natural caffeine from amenable climates and subsequently sought to create an alternative.
Looking at the market today, we drink more synthetic caffeine than its natural alternative. The majority of energy drinks and soft drinks on the supermarket shelves contain synthetic caffeine. Synthetic caffeine is as it sounds, man made rather than naturally sourced using a raw material called urea. As with many chemically produced compounds, the end product contains harsh chemicals that are not found in the natural alternative. Typically these include methylene chloride, ethyl acetate and carbon dioxide – and yes, they are as nasty as they sound.
So why do companies persist with using this as opposed to the naturally sourced material. For one, it is cheaper to produce in mass quantities and can be grown in a wider variety of climates to the common caffeine plant sources. But the properties of synthetic caffeine are also profoundly different to a “natural hit.”
Synthetic caffeine is designed to give you the “lift” you crave faster than a natural caffeine source. The adverse side to this is that you quite often experience a caffeine “crash” that is far more significant as well. The answer to this…we often continue to intake more and more caffeine to offset the low – dropping into a false sense of security that the caffeine is keeping you going. Should we not stop to think that perhaps the type of caffeine you are consuming that is contributing to the problem.
Natural Caffeine provides a far slower release of energy. There are a number of naturally occurring vitamins that are found in natural caffeine plants which minimise the crash that can be felt by the synthetic form. Around 60 different plants are natural sources – coffee and tea being the those predominantly consumed in the world today. Coupled with the energy release that caffeine provides, natural sources are also rich with antioxidants such as cafestol, trigonelline, chlorogenic acid, melanoidins and quinine. As such, there is a whole host of scientific research into the health benefits of natural caffeine, and that caffeine itself may reduce cavities, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, liver cancer, gall stones, cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and a variety of heart diseases.
If you want to check whether the products you are buying are natural or synthetic caffeine based, the ingredients will almost always name the plant source should they be naturally procured. If the packet just says “caffeine” the chances are it is synthetically produced. At Aver we are advocates of natural caffeine and include in our Boost drinks product 🙂
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