Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us by Murray Carpenter

18114118Title: Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us

Author: Murray Carpenter

Genre: Nonfiction, Science, Food, Health, Psychology, History, Cooking, Business, Nutrition

Publisher: Hudson Street Press

Published: March 13, 2014

Page Amount: 288 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: The most popular drug in America is a white powder. No, not that powder. This is caffeine in its most essential state. AndCaffeinated reveals the little-known truth about this addictive, largely unregulated drug found in coffee, energy drinks, teas, colas, chocolate, and even pain relievers.

We’ll learn why caffeine has such a powerful effect on everything from boosting our mood to improving our athletic performance as well as how—and why—brands such as Coca-Cola have ducked regulatory efforts for decades. We learn the differences in the various ways caffeine is delivered to the body, how it is quietly used to reinforce our buying patterns, and how it can play a role in promoting surprising health problems like obesity and anxiety.

Why Read: I’ve always been interested in nonfiction… but unfortunately, I never get around to reading the pop-culture science books that flood the Bookternet every couple of months. Caffeinated has been on my radar for months, when one day I decided I needed a new audio book. There was no reason to not listen to this utterly fantastic read, so shrugging: I did it.

Review: Did you know most of the caffeine in our sodas and other beverages is actually synthetic white powder that’s produced in China without FDA regulation? Could you imagine that the highest amount of caffeine consumption in the USA was actually all the way back during World War 2? Maybe you know exactly how scarily prevalent caffeine is in our culture worldwide? These are just three of the ideas that have come from listening to Caffeinated. I was hooked from the onset. The book opens with a case of caffeine powder overdose at a party, moving onto the authors investigation into caffeine.

How exactly does one “study” caffeine? Murray Carpenter does a fabulous job racing around the globe from Central America, to America to China to illustrate just how incredibly popular this drug is in its different forms. Beyond simply acknowledging the origins, Carpenter takes us on the journey of Coca Cola – and how the extremely limited caffeine regulation in the United States stems from a battle between two men. The storyline is twisted and thick with implications and even travels to chemical reactions within the body, showing how caffeine really does impact our cultures and behavioral patterns.

Finishing this book… I was a little freaked. Considering though: How could I not be? You don’t often read a book about a drug and not become overly paranoid, but it becomes more concerning when caffeine, a “state-sponsored” drug, is the product being described. I almost want to not recommend this book to those who drink coffee on a regular basis (because it may send you into a bit of anxiety-caffeine-provoked panic attack), but I almost feel like I am obligated to tell you about these things and knowledge. Caffeine is happily and heavily promoted worldwide, and while it has positive short-term effects, the addictive-like qualities it contains are deeply frightening in a world that literally runs on coffee. Verdict: Please read if only to save me from being overly aware of caffeine consumption.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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