New research in the U.K. appears to show that people who use caffeine on a daily basis are not more alert than people who rarely or never use caffeine. The article (click here), published June 2, 2010, in The Guardian, is unfortunately poorly written. They talk about "coffee drinkers" instead of "caffeine users", but the tests were done with caffeine pills. The fact that the author, Jacob Aron, equates caffeine pills with coffee drinking is strange for several reasons. First, since he's writing in the U.K., why wouldn't he equate caffeine use with tea-drinking? Second, he obviously hasn't heard of decaffeinated coffee, since it wasn't mentioned. And lastly, everyone in the specialty coffee industry should bristle when journalists project the idea that the coffee beverage is simply a liquid, widely available form of a caffeine pill!
The article would have been more impressive had the author mentioned that decaf coffee drinkers and non-caffeinated tea drinkers would be included in the "alert but abstaining from caffeine" group. And I would submit, at least this decaf drinker is better able to interpret the research on caffeine.
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