What are some hidden sources of caffeine?

OPSS Answer

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in parts of many plants, including tea leaves, coffee beans, and others. The caffeine in plants (referred to simply as “caffeine” or “natural caffeine”) can be extracted for use in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. Caffeine can also be made in a laboratory (synthesized) and used for the same purposes.

You probably know that caffeine is found in many colas, coffee, teas (black, green, oolong and white), and chocolate, but caffeine is also present in some over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplement products. Energy drinks contain caffeine, and some also contain guarana, a plant with high amounts of caffeine. Yerba mate, green tea extract, cacao beans, and kola/cola nuts are sources of caffeine often found in weight-loss and performance-enhancing dietary supplements. Be sure to read labels for hidden sources of caffeine.

For more information about caffeine, see the OPSS FAQ about caffeine and caffeine anhydrous. And for information about caffeine in dietary supplements, please visit our FAQ “How much caffeine is safe?

FAQ last reviewed 19 May 2014

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