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Do You Know Nutrition: Chocolate contains less caffeine than tea

By By Phylis Canion
Jan. 8, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 7, 2013 at 7:08 p.m.

Phylis Canion

I am going to start the new year out right and try to eliminate caffeine. I do love chocolate, and I know it contains caffeine, so I am wondering how much caffeine is in chocolate compared to coffee, tea and colas? Where do herbal teas fit in as far as caffeine levels?

Great news for you and all of those chocolate lovers out there who are also limiting their caffeine. Chocolate contains less caffeine than tea, coffee, colas and energy drinks.

Based on average servings, according to the Mayo Clinic a 1-ounce bar of milk chocolate contains 6 milligrams of caffeine (white chocolate contains no caffeine, and dark chocolate contains 7 milligrams) as compared to an 8-ounce cup of coffee that contains more than 94 milligrams of caffeine. An 8-ounce serving of green tea contains approximately 40 milligrams. For an 8-ounce serving of black tea or a diet soda, each contains 47 milligrams of caffeine. Oh, and for your information, an average 8-ounce energy drink contains approximately 77 milligrams of caffeine. Herbal teas, more properly known as infusions but marketed as herbal teas, are caffeine-free, with the exception of yerba mate, which does contain caffeine.

Many over-the-counter and behind-the-counter analgesics formulated specifically for headaches contain caffeine.

Because caffeine is a stimulant, consuming caffeine may contribute to a person's weight and hunger. The following is a list of effects that the stimulant can have on the body: increased appetite, raised cortisol levels, increased levels of insulin and increased levels of glucose.

Each of these factors can combine with caffeine-induced stress, making the process of controlling weight for many extremely difficult. When caffeine is consumed in excess, the following symptoms can develop: frequent urination, accelerated heart rate, upset stomach, nervousness, shaking, insomnia, anxiety, depression and hyperactivity. So, while it is important to monitor your caffeine intake, celebrate the new year with a kiss - a chocolate kiss, that is - that only contains 1 milligram of caffeine and by all means, enjoy.

Thought for the week: Success is best measured by how far you've come with the talents you've been given.

Plan to attend the next free nutrition class at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at Organic Emporium in Victoria.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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