plusaf's Caffeine Project     rev. 11.15.2008 Back to Lessons

I'm caffeine-sensitive. You might be, too.

It started for me around 1972, when I started having really bad headaches, always just above my right eye, every Saturday afternoon!

What was the difference between all of the other days and Saturday?     On Saturday, I didn't drink coffee.

Monday through Friday, I'd had, on average, up to 5 to 7 cups a day!
Suddenly, my body reacted to the caffeine. I'd pushed my body over some limit.

The headaches were"withdrawal symptoms" from caffeine. Often as bad as any migraine you've ever experienced or heard of.
So, what could I do?
Essentially, my only alternative was: no coffee. Even decaf coffee would give me a mild headache the next day. What was worse was that I couldn't even balance a small amount of caffeine in my body, so I couldn't enjoy any kind of coffee without a headache the next day.
Want to be a hero for someone?
If you know anyone who has "inexplicable" headaches (headaches with no obvious cause), ask them the following:

If the person answers, "yes!" to these questions, they're a caffeine addict, and they can often cure the headache within an hour or less by having a cup of coffee (real, of course, not decaf!) or a can of non-caffeine-free cola!

Here's the Project:

I need your help. Well, a very special "you": I'd like to enlist the aid of someone with access to special equipment (probably a chemistry lab with a gas chromatograph) to do some research for me. I'll publish the results right here, and if you want credit for the work, I'll put your name here, too.

What I want to find out is, how much caffeine is there, really in a variety of beverages, some of which may even claim to be "caffeine-free". I have a suspicion that, in some cases, "zero" isn't exactly equal to "nothing"!

Here are some blanks to fill in: (probably measured in milligrams (mg) per serving):

Beverage mg/355ml serving (reported) mg/355ml serving (measured*)
7-up (better be zero!) (better be zero!)
Coca-Cola 45.6 39.3*
Coca-Cola Classic 34.0** ?
Coca-Cola C2, Cherry Coke, Lemon Coke, Vanilla Coke, Diet Cherry Coke 34.0** ?
Diet Coke [Regular flavor, with Lemon, with Lime, Vanilla] 45.6 44.1
Dr. Pepper 39.6*,41.0** 47.5*
Dr. Pepper Diet 41.0** ?
Mountain Dew 55.0 23.7
Pepsi-Cola 37.2 30.4
Pepsi-Cola, Pepsi Twist 37.5** ?
Pepsi-Cola, Wild Cherry 38.0** ?
Pepsi-One 55.5** ?
Pepsi-Cola, Diet Pepsi, Diet Wild Cherry, Diet Twist 36.0** ?
RC Cola, Diet RC Cola 43.0 ?
Red Bull (355ml) ? 127.3
Red Bull (250ml) ? 63.3
Shasta Cola, Cherry, Diet 44.4**
Surge 51.0 17.9
Popular "caffeine-free" Colas ? ?
Storm, etc.... ?? ??

So, if you can help, send an email (one with data in it is even better...)

* Thanks to Jully, a third year chemistry student at University of California at Berkeley, 11.24.1999
**Thanks to Vidya, via
Thank you, from me, and on behalf of many caffeine-sufferers, world-wide. Remember, it's just another legal, addictive drug. Don't think so? Try quitting "cold-turkey" tomorrow.....

Want More Information?
Click Here: Caffeine Content of Foods and Drugs
from CSPI Press Releases

First rev. 01.02.2003