'Early Show' Brews Up Hype on Decaf Coffee
The mediaâs daily grind against the food industry continued as CBS warned viewers that even decaf coffee isnât decaffeinated enough.
âIf you are having decaf with your breakfast this morning, we have some shocking news,â co-host Rene Syler informed viewers of the October 12 âEarly Show.â âA new study finds most decaffeinated coffee drinks contains some caffeine,â Syler added as she introduced a story by correspondent Randall Pinkston.
But decaffeinating a drink is no guarantee that it removes all the caffeine, and health experts have known that for years. Yet CBSâs Pinkston portrayed the âshockingâ revelation as a hidden health threat.
âThousands of people do drink decaf because of health issues,â for medical reasons âbut if you drink decaffeinated coffee because you think youâre eliminatingâ the stimulant, âthink again,â cautioned Pinkston, pointing to a recently published study from the University of Florida.
Scientists found âcaffeine concentrations of up to 14 milligrams per 16-ounce cup.â That works out to less than one-tenth the caffeine in a regular cup of coffee.
That could be a problem, said Pinkston because âdoctors say just 10 milligrams can give a sensitive person the jitters.â
But how new is this scientific discovery? âGo Ask Alice,â a question-and-answer feature from Columbia Universityâs Health Promotion Program informed readers of the low-caffeine content in decaf coffee five years ago.
In a Sept. 7, 2001, posting entitled âDoes caffeine raise blood pressure,â âAliceâ noted that itâs advisable for patients with hypertension to âlimit or eliminate caffeine from their eating planâ and suggested that âpeople who cannot give up good olâ javaâ could turn to decaf coffee. âAliceâ noted that a decaf cup of Joe has âa typical caffeine content of about 5 mg per 8 oz. cup (versus 135 mg of caffeine for the regular brew).â
âAliceâ also suggested hot cocoa as a coffee alternative that also delivers âapproximately 5 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. mugâ while also benefiting drinkers with calcium.
The Business & Media Institute has previously documented how the network morning shows have gone on an anti-java jihad. On the June 19 âGood Morning America,â ABCâs Elisabeth Leamy treated Starbucks coffee to scrutiny from the liberal Center for Science in the Public Interest. Two days later, CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis worried about American teenagers hanging out after-school at coffee shops.
âCoffee has always been considered an adult drink, but today coffee drinkers are much, much youngerâ with âmany teensâ downing java as âa daily ritual,â the reporter warned on the June 21 âEarly Show.â