Caffeine gum prompts FDA review - KLFY News 10

Caffeine gum prompts FDA review

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Caffeine is creating a buzz in health news.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration announced they'll be looking into popular food items containing the stimulant. This is on the heels of big name gum brand "Wrigley's" launch of a new caffeinated-chewing gum.

"The right energy, right now" is the slogan for Wrigley's new "Alert Energy" chewing gum. One piece has the same amount of caffeine as a half a cup of coffee. It's just one caffeine-infused product among a slew of others already on store shelves. But now the FDA says they're investigating the safety of such products. 

 "It is disturbing," said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner of food for the FDA. "We're concerned about whether they have been adequately evaluated."

Taylor said the use of caffeine in food products and drinks was approved back in the 1950s. But over the past decade, the caffeine culture has gone "beyond anything the FDA envisioned."

And while most products are marketed to adults to consume moderately, Lafayette Internist, Dr. Rachael Roberts says the potential for abuse is there.

"There are people that go through a whole pot of coffee, people that will chew the gum all day, and people that live on energy drinks all day. So, yes there is potential for abuse," said Roberts.  "Especially if people think it's safer than it is."

Roberts says no studies show caffeine to be life-threatening, however people commonly experience the side-affects and withdrawal symptoms.  The FDA says they'll also look into the potential impact caffeine has on children.

"(On caffeine) they're having over stimulation problems on their nervous system, like agitation. And we already know as children it's tough, so when you're adding all these extra things when on a stimulant, it's dangerous to them," said Roberts.

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