Pros and Cons of the Caffeine Craze

Caffeine drinks are trendy, but are there some downsides? WebMD gets the perspective of experts.

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

If you crave caffeine to get you through the day, you're not alone. About 68% of Americans say they're hooked on coffee this year, compared with 64% last year, according to the National Coffee Association.

Sales of caffeine-laced energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster are expected to rise 60% this year, says Gary Hemphill of the Beverage Marketing Corporation, a consulting firm in New York.

If those don't give you enough of a buzz, you can turn to sodas, coffee-flavored yogurt -- some of it has as much caffeine as a 12-ounce soda -- coffee ice cream, chocolate candy, or iced tea.

And one new product, controversially named Cocaine, goes one step further, offering a mega-dose of caffeine that dwarfs its nearest competitors.

Some medicines and dietary supplements for weight loss also include a dose of caffeine. Coke is even planning to roll out a new "negative calorie" carbonated green tea beverage this fall called Enviga that combines caffeine with other ingredients to -- according to the company -- increase calorie burning.

So what's the harm, ask caffeine fans, who point to studies showing the benefits of caffeine, such as boosting memory and improving concentration and perhaps lowering risks of diseases such as Alzheimer's and liver cancer.