Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in many common foods and drinks such as tea, hot cocoa, chocolate, sparkling drinks. People around the world have enjoyed caffeine as part of their diets for hundreds of years. Coca-Cola in New Zealand offers both caffeine-free and caffeinated drinks.

One of the most studied ingredients

Caffeine is a comprehensively studied ingredient in the food supply, with centuries of safe use. Regulatory agencies throughout the world including New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), Food and Drug Administration in the US (FDA) and the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA), consider the appropriate use of caffeine in food to be safe and acceptable.

Pregnant or nursing women, or women trying to become pregnant, should consult a doctor regarding caffeine consumption.

Caffeine in the diet

The most commonly known sources of caffeine are coffee, cocoa beans, and tea leaves. Caffeine is also an ingredient in sparkling cola beverages and other drinks. Caffeine levels in popular products are as follows:

Caffeine (mg)

Pack Size(mL) 'Coca-Cola' 'Diet Coke' 'Coke Zero' Instant Coffee
without Milk
Instant Coffee 
with Milk
Tea*
100 9.7 12.8 9.6 31.0 28.0 19.0
200 19.4 25.6 19.2 62.0 56.0 38.0
250 24.3 32.0 24.0 77.5 70.0 47.5
330 32.0 42.2 31.7 102.3 92.4 62.7
355 34.4 45.4 34.1 110.1 99.4 67.5
420 40.7 53.8 40.3 130.2 117.6 79.8
440 42.7 N/A** 42.2 136.4 123.2 83.6
600 58.2 76.8 57.6 186.0 168.0 114.0

*brewed from leaf or tea bag
**Diet Coke is not available in this pack size
Source for instant coffee and tea information: AUSNUT 2007, FSANZ

Caffeine in sparkling drinks

Caffeine is an integral part of the complex flavour and overall profile of some sparkling drinks, which people enjoy for refreshment, taste and hydration. For over 100 years, in some cases, the formulae for these drinks have carefully balanced a mix of ingredients, including sweeteners, carbonation, caffeine, and other flavourings to produce the refreshing and tangy taste that consumers prefer, especially when served cold or with ice. The bitter taste of caffeine is part of the complex flavour profile of these drinks.

The amount of caffeine in our cola soft drinks is relatively small, 9.6 - 12.8 milligrams of caffeine per 100ml serving or 24 - 32mg per 250mL cup, less caffeine than a cup of instant coffee (which is approximately 77.5mg per 250mL cup). However, because some people prefer drinks without caffeine, many sparkling drinks are also available in caffeine-free versions.

Is caffeine dehydrating?

Recent scientific consensus concludes caffeinated beverages contribute to the body's hydration needs similarly to non-caffeinated beverages. The US based Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (insert hyperlink http://www.iom.edu/ ) in its February 2004 report on 'Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate*' states, "... caffeinated beverages appear to contribute to the daily total water intake similar to that contributed by Non-Caffeinated beverages."

In a study examining the effect of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages on hydration status, no significant differences were found in the effect of various combinations (Grandjean, A et. al. The Effect of Caffeinated, Non-Caffeinated, Caloric and Non-Caloric beverages on Hydration, J. Am. College of Nutrition, 2000. 19, 591-600).

In addition a recent review on hydration concluded that moderate ingestion of caffeine (<300mg) does not promote dehydration (Ganio MS, et. al. Evidence-Based Approach to Lingering Hydration Questions, Clin. Sports. Med. 2007, 26, 1-16.

* Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board, 2004. 4; 133-134