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8 Top Caffeine Fixes

8 Top Caffeine Fixes

Talk about happy trends. More and more yummy foods that used to be considered bad news are turning out to be good for you. First it was wine. Then olive oil. Chocolate. Guacamole. And now -- coffee. (Hey, can ice cream be far behind?!)

What restored coffee's reputation? Caffeine. After years of being viewed with suspicion, caffeine has pulled a scientific switcheroo. Besides helping students pull all-nighters and weekend warriors jump-start their jump shots, there's now evidence that caffeine defends against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's, asthma symptoms, postworkout soreness, and even hunger pangs. Cool.

It's not totally benign, of course. Is anything? So, our experts advise limiting caffeine to about 250 mg a day (the average cup of joe has about 100 mg) to avoid jitters and a possible boost in blood pressure. But few labels list caffeine content, so it's hard to tell how much is in what. Below, lists the caffeine content of a few popular drinks. It covers some timeless favorites along with the caffeine sources that are generating the most buzz. We checked the calories too, BTW, but most are pretty harmless.

DIET COKE
Everybody's default diet drink

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 45 mg
  • THE CALORIES: 0
  • THE OTHER STUFF: A lot of flavorings and colorings, not much else -- call it caffeine lite

WATER JOE
For the purist: plain H2O with a jolt

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 60 mg in a 16.9-ounce bottle
  • THE CALORIES: 0
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Artesian water and caffeine, that's it -- no additives, no carbonation

RED BULL
The energy drink that started it all

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 80 mg per 8-ounce can
  • THE CALORIES: 110
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Has taurine, a "detox" amino acid; B vitamins; loads of sugar -- so beware the crash after the rush

ENVIGA
Controversial new green-tea drink

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 100 mg per 12-ounce can
  • THE CALORIES: 5
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Laced with 200 mg of calcium and green-tea antioxidants, but in trouble for claiming that it makes the body burn up extra calories

ROCKET CHOCOLATE
Candy with more zip than a cup of joe

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 150 mg per piece
  • THE CALORIES: 70
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Comes in trendy flavors like mocha latte; individually wrapped so you can stash in a pocket -- but can you eat just one?

FUSION ENERGY
7-Eleven's new-ish "functional" brew

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 250 mg per 12-ounce cup
  • THE CALORIES: 0
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Freshly ground coffee brewed with an alertness-boosting blend of ginseng, guarana, and yerba mate

STARBUCKS
Coffee, just coffee

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 280 or so per 12-ounce cup
  • THE CALORIES: 0
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Starbucks coffee averages twice the caffeine of a regular 8-ounce cup of java, but the hit can vary wildly: in one study, by 200 mg on different days

SPIKE SHOOTER
Heavy-hitter energy drink

  • THE CAFFEINE FIX: 300 mg per 8.4-ounce can
  • THE CALORIES: 0
  • THE OTHER STUFF: Spiked with tyrosine, yohimbine, and a huge dose of vitamin B12; label warns you not to drink more than 1 a day

Learn more about the health highs of your daily cup o' joe.

Medically reviewed in June 2018.

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