GOOD

Spider Webs and the Battle Over Federal Caffeine Limits

One hundred years ago, the predecessor of the FDA had no data on how caffeine affects humans. Unbelievably, the same is pretty much true today.


A fascinating article in Monday's New York Times looks at the long debate over safe limits for caffeine consumption in the United States. "Long" in this instance means 100 years—journalist Murray Carpenter tells the story of the USDA vs. Coca-Cola, which went to trial a century ago this month.

At the time, Coke contained 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving, as much as a Red Bull today. To defend themselves against the government's charge that caffeine was a harmful ingredient, they hired a scientist to look at the effects of the stimulant on the mental and motor skills of both abstainers, occasional, and heavy users. No one had gathered this kind of data before.

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How Pickle Juice Changed the World of Sports: Food Innovations From the Football Field

Pickle juice is one of football’s enigmatic contributions to science.

The Philadelphia Eagles started their 2000 season at Texas Stadium in Dallas. They opened with an onside kick, recovered the ball, and quickly threw a touchdown pass. Sure, they were a losing team, expected to lose against the Cowboys, and here they were pulling ahead. But that’s not what set the game apart. It was 109 degrees, the hottest game ever played.

Imagine being a 300-pound guy, in tights, running around, running into other big guys while wearing 30 pounds of equipment. You’re going to sweat. A dozen Cowboys did so much sweating, they dropped out of the game with heat-induced muscle cramps. All the Eagles stayed in and the team won 41-14. The Eagles’ secret weapon? They fought off cramps with pickle juice.

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What's Next for Lokovores? Does the FDA Ban on Four Loko Mean Caffeine is the Next Big Tobacco?

Four Loko. It was alcoholic. It was caffeinated. And now it's gone. But does anyone really understand what it's doing to our brains? Nope.

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