The LDS Church clarifies its stand on caffeinated sodas saying drinking them isn’t against the word of wisdom. This statement has made many people, specially students, wonder if there are health benefits or concerns in drinking those soft drinks.
Experts say some of the benefits of caffeine are being able to perform longer mentally and physically. However, there are some downsides such as dependency, increased blood sugar or heart issues.
Many studies vary on the benefits and drawbacks of caffeine. Thus, professionals still don’t have a clear opinion.
“There is not good medical evidence to promote the use of caffeine or to discourage the use of caffeine,” says Dr. Joseph Minor, Doctor at Utah County Health Department.
Even though there is not enough evidence to take a clear stand, experts agree that there are short-term benefits from caffeine.
“For people who are going to be driving and are worried about drowsiness with test-taking or problems with wakefulness, it could be beneficial that way,” says Dr. Minor.
Some doctors say the problem is not so much the caffeine itself, but the way people take it in.
“A lot of times the soda itself has acidic properties, so if you add that with caffeine which stimulates the stomach to make more acid, then you have two strikes against you, and you have a lot more irritation lining in your stomach,” says Dr. Keith Willmore, Doctor at the BYU Health Center.
Even with this uncertainty, doctors say there is a right and a wrong way to use caffeine.
“My recommendation would be to use it in moderation. If you use it once in a while, when you really need it, then it’s OK,” says Dr. Willmore, “If you are using it routinely, especially in high doses, I think it is gonna have some downsides as far as health.”
Some BYU students are still protesting. They started a Facebook page called “BYU for caffeine” to show that there is a demand for these sodas on campus. However, dining services haven’t said anything about whether or not they will start selling caffeinated soft drinks.