Caffeinated Gum For A Quick Energy Fix
March 21, 2013

Caffeinated Gum For A Quick Energy Fix

A few months ago, I wrote about the impact of caffeinating foods, other than the traditional coffee and tea. The focus of that blog was on foods and drinks that had caffeine added to them, but the companies did not have to list caffeine as an ingredient. Today, though, I want to write about a company banking on caffeine. Wrigley, America’s largest chewing gum company, is releasing a caffeinated gum.

The gum’s name is Alert Energy Caffeine Gum.

According to CNN Money, Wrigley decided to get into the caffeine market after it found a rise of sales of 41 percent in caffeine drinks while suffering a 3.8 percent drop in gum sales, both since 2008. Wrigley proclaims that they are producing and marketing the gum strictly for consumers 25 years old and older, in order to avoid any potential health issues for children and teens. Since the gum is more expensive, $2.99 (USD) for a pack of eight and tastes more bitter due to being sugar free and having more caffeine in it, the company is confident that children will not be the focused target for purchase.

Jennifer Luth, spokesperson for Wrigley, said, “There’s nothing we can do to prevent people from selling it to children,” she said. “But we’ve done everything we can so it’s not a product for children or teens. It is absolutely designed for adults who are already using caffeine for energy.”

Wrigley is a part of Mars candy company, so its’ marketing arms reach far and wide. Hopefully, this means that they will be able to better advertise to adults and keep children and teens from being interested in the caffeinated gum.

Unlike my above-mentioned blog about secret caffeine in foods, Wrigley is openly advertising and addressing the fact that their new gum has caffeine in it. In fact, they purposely created the product in order to get into the caffeine game. A quick glance at any convenience store shows all the caffeinated drink options, so why not have a gum with caffeine in it?

Despite my affection for a good mug of joe, or a nice cup of tea, I do worry about the amount of caffeine I take in through my diet. Caffeine can help perk me up and give me a little energy boost, but I also consider what effects it has otherwise. WebMD acknowledges that caffeine is likely safe when used appropriately; however, some serious side effects may include exacerbating anxiety disorders, contributing to sleep disturbances, affecting heartbeat and blood pressure rates, and even worsening irritable bowl syndrome.

Now, caffeine does not absolutely have those side effects by every individual each time it is ingested; but these are possible side effects when caffeine is abused or simply misused. Just like with anything (sugar, fats, proteins, grains), we must make sure to drink or chew caffeine carefully. We must not overdo it because the possibility of a caffeine-induced heart attack is not worth it.

And that has happened…recently. The CNN Money report about Wrigley’s caffeinated gum explained that in October 2012, Monster Beverage, a very popular energy drink maker, had a lawsuit filed against it because a 14-year-old girl died of cardiac arrest after drinking two Monster products in 24 hours prior to her death. If the doctors and the suit find that caffeine promoted the heart attack, then that should be even more reason that we should all watch how much caffeine we take in.

I do love caffeine, and some of the benefits absolutely contribute to healthy living (including energy, benefits for diabetics, and others), but too much of even a good thing is dangerous. I like my coffee and tea caffeine, but I am not opposed to trying the gum in a pinch.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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