When Food Products Try to Be Energy Drinks – GreenEyedGuide on ScienceMeetsFood

In this article I wrote for ScienceMeetsFood.org, I discuss the growing world of caffeinated food in general and caffeinated peanut butter in particular. How does caffeinated peanut butter compare to regular peanut butter? To energy drinks?

science meets food capture

science meets food header
GreenEyedGuide on Science Meets Food

Science Meets Food is the official blog of the IFT Student Association (IFTSA), which has over 2,500 members from around the world. IFT Student Association members love science and have an everyday passion for food. They are Official Food Geeks, and IFT is their home.

Visit ScienceMeetsFood.org to read the full article

“Moderating caffeine intake can be a challenge. There are some days it seems there’s not enough caffeine in the world to keep your mind focused or your eyes from drooping, and there are other days when it seems like the smallest cup of coffee makes your heart race and hands shake. I’ve studied energy drinks and the science behind their ingredients for 10 years, and I find these products fascinating. I may know a lot about caffeinated drinks, but caffeinated food – well, that’s a whole new ballgame.

According to Caffeine Informer’s caffeine database [1], there are almost two hundred different food products enhanced with caffeine, including ice cream, granola, brownies, waffles, marshmallows, jelly beans, candy, gum, jerky, and good old fashioned dark chocolate. Okay, so that last one is actually naturally caffeinated… However, the food that interests me most on the list is the caffeinated peanut butter (because hello, it’s peanut butter and it’s delicious).

Visit ScienceMeetsFood.org to read the full article

 

Read more from the Day in the Life of a Food Scientist series

Let’s connect!

Widespread and Pointless? Pantothenic Acid – Book Excerpt of the Week

Vitamin B5 aka pantothenic acid is everywhere. If you were assembling your dream superhero squad for an energy drink, I would argue that pantothenic acid is the last vitamin worthy of making the team.

Sorry B5, we can’t all be like Niacin, the Captain America of Energy Drink Ingredient Avengers.

Here’s why pantothenic acid is not worthy.

Rich sources of pantothenic acid include mushrooms, peanuts, eggs (especially the yolk), yeast, broccoli, milk, sweet potatoes, legumes, and whole grains.

Milk, meat, vegetables, and carbs are all sources of pantothenic acid so it’s hard to imagine a diet that isn’t getting pantothenic acid from somewhere.

all carb diet

I have yet to discover why anyone needs to supplement with panthothenic acid, yet its included in several energy drink vitamin blends. Of course, pantothenic acid has an important role when it comes to facilitating energy production in the body, but a vitamin B5 deficiency is rare because this vitamin is in so many foods.

STAY TUNED every Monday for more book excerpts and the science behind energy drink ingredients as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

Let’s connect!

Is V8 Really an Energy Drink? A Primer on the Science of Energy Drinks in Disguise [GreenEyedGuide on ScienceMeetsFood]

In this article I wrote for ScienceMeetsFood.org, I address the problem behind the term “energy drink” and the science behind energy drinks in disguise. (There’s also a Guardians of the Galaxy metaphor!) It’s a great primer if you’ve never heard the term “energy drink in disguise”, or if you never realized that V8 and Ocean Spray make energy drinks. Read this article in its entirety at ScienceMeetsFood.org

“I’ve been studying energy drinks since 2003 and they continue to both fascinate and horrify me. They fascinate me because I’m a biochemistry major, or maybe it’s the other way around. Energy drinks are the reason I pursued my masters in food science (and the reason I survived grad school). Metabolic biochemistry is the closest I’ll ever come to engineering – for me, studying biochemistry is studying the secret rules to how things work.

Energy drinks horrify me because it feels like people with no science background are behind some of the products you can buy online. Sometimes I’ll read a label and think, “What are they doing? Who thought this was a good idea?” The most concerning aspect of energy drinks is we don’t have a proper nomenclature to classify them properly. (#WhatWouldIUPACDo?) Using the term “energy drink” the way we do is like calling pure ethanol “booze”. Let’s talk about why the lack of classification is a problem.

Is V8 Really Energy Drink
Read this on ScienceMeetsFood

—————————————–

Let’s connect!

Niacin as Riboflavin’s Cooler Older Brother – Book Excerpt of the Week

Riboflavin and niacin are both popular energy drink ingredients but in many ways one outshines the other. Niacin is like riboflavin’s cooler older brother. The two are similar, but niacin has more style to its game. Let’s start with how the two get into the body:

✔Niacin can walk into any room it wants but riboflavin needs help. Riboflavin has to be consumed with food because stomach acids need to free it from a protein it’s usually attched to. Niacin can pass through the walls of the stomach and intestines as effortlessly as perfume spreading through a small room (passive diffusion).

✔Riboflavin has to wait til it reaches the small intestine to get absorbed, but Niacin gets absorbed in the stomach too, as if it has a VIP Pass to cut the line and get into the club (the bloodstream) sooner.

✔Niacin is absorbed faster and more efficiently (% absorption-wise) than riboflavin.

✔Niacin is like that person EVERYONE wants at their party, and this will be even MORE apparent when we get to WHAT NIACIN DOES in next week’s book excerpt.

Get your copy of my book on the science behind energy drink ingredients, available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

“ARE YOU A MONSTER OR A ROCK STAR: A GUIDE TO ENERGY DRINKS – HOW THEY WORK, WHY THEY WORK, HOW TO USE THEM SAFELY”

Let’s connect!

Thiamin and Carbohydrate Metabolism – Book Excerpt of the Week

Last week we talked about how some energy drinks have B-vitamins, but not all B-vitamins are relevant to the way the body generates energy. If the B-vitamins were the Avengers, then Thiamin would definitely be one of the strongest members. Thiamin is a crucial part of how the body turns glucose into energy.

20170522_090528.jpg

Glucose is the most basic unit of a carbohydrate and the preferred fuel for the body. As a glucose molecule is broken down to release energy it must become a molecule/metabolite named pyruvate. Thiamin (as its coenzyme form, thiamin pyrophosphate or TPP) keeps that enzyme humming like a well-oiled machine. So without sufficient thiamin, carbohydrate metabolism screeches to a halt. Thiamin as TPP participates in the metabolism of fat, protein, and nucleic acids, but it’s carbohydrate metabolism that’s first to go haywire with a thiamin deficiency.

Stay tuned as we look at other B-vitamins in our page-by-page tour through my book on the science of energy drinks and their ingredients.

Let’s connect!