Be it office workers or university students working through the night, or aunties and uncles having their routine morning cuppa, coffee is nearly the lifeblood of modern Singapore.
In my opinion, its amazingly divine powers that grant much-needed wakefulness and alertness to the desperately sleep-deprived and overworked should allow caffeine to be beautified as a deity.
But when it is night, some would religiously avoid it or they will be counting sheep.
Pregnant mothers would avoid coffee or risk having their unborn break-dancing in their womb.
To help readers avoid becoming Energizer bunnies due to accidental consumption of caffeine, here are some of the unusual suspects.
1. Decaf Coffee and non-Cola Sodas
The name means coffee minus the caffeine and non-cola soft drinks should not have a molecule of caffeine in them, right?
No. In 2007, Consumer Reports tested and concluded coffee from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have at least 20% of the usual 100 mg of caffeine in a regular cuppa Joe in them.
According to Health.com, some brands of root beer, A&W Cream Soda, and even the innocent-sounding Sunkist orange soda, have 23 mg to 41 mg of caffeine in them!
2. Dark Chocolate
Caffeine is naturally occurring in cocoa beans, the main ingredient of the almighty chocolate.
This means darker chocolate, or those with high cocoa percentages, contain more caffeine because more cocoa beans are used.
So please don’t fall into the trap of munching on Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bar, which packs as much caffeine as a can of Coke!
3. Hot chocolate
This tasty potent combination of both sugar and cocoa goodness is supposed to warm the body and induce sleep.
But as mentioned earlier, anything with cocoa contains hints of caffeine.
Though it is more likely that sugar is the one responsible for keeping you awake, it is best that you have fresh white cow’s milk for bedtime.
4. Cereals, Yoghurt, and Anything that Sounds Innocent
Do you know that Danone’s Yoghurt has as much as 45 mg of caffeine in it? If not, now you know.
Snapple has about 62 mg of caffeine. And should you have the habit of eating breakfast cereal at night (which I do), then beware of Quaker’s and Kellogg’s brands of cereal that are chocolate flavored.
By now, you should know why.
5. Weight-loss pills
Ok. This is something I really don’t know. Although caffeine do not really help much in shrinking your waistline, somehow manufacturers of sliming pills overload their products with caffeine.
Some daily doses can contain as much as 12 cups of coffee. I think the pills are to stimulate people into exercising more and attributing the weight loss to the pills.
Did you know that a little bit of caffeine can relieve your headache but excessive amounts worsen them? But not to worry about lying wide-eyed at bedtime because the caffeine would be counteracted by sleep-inducing substances in the painkillers.
However, you should not overdose on painkillers because not only that is dangerously suicidal but you will be having two cups of Starbucks Frappuccino racing through your system.
7. Energy Drinks
What are you thinking?! It is an energy drink for god’s sake! Just like Decaf Coffee, energy drinks are a no-no if you want your beauty sleep. Energy gives you the ability to do more work, not put you in a sleepy stupor.
Even if it doesn’t say “X mg of caffeine”, the mentioning of guarana flavoring promises caffeinated goodness.
This is because guarana is a Brazillian plant that is a natural source of caffeine.
8. Breath Fresheners
Having a minty breath is probably good etiquette but it can wreck havoc on your bedtime schedule.
Moreover, you are supposed to brush and floss your pearly whites, not use breath fresheners at night.
Some brands of gum, breath mints, and even freshener sprays provide as much caffeine as two cups of coffee!
9. Protein bars
“What the … ?! Really ar?! Seriously ar?!” That was my animated response when a dietician friend told me that some protein bars pack serious loads of protein and caffeine, which can amount to a cuppa per bar.
If you can’t sleep on an empty stomach, then snack on fresh fruit or peanut butter sandwich because your protein bar makes a bad bedtime snack.
Look here. Matcha is a highly concentrated, finely milled, and high-quality green TEA powder.
It is used historically by Buddhist monks and samurais to prepare for meditation and improve concentration and mental clarity.
This is due to higher-than-usual concentrations of caffeine because the tea leaf is consumed.