The Wild World Of Caffeinated Snacks

The elements to good health – eating, food, nutrition and health has taken a divergent route. The introduction of additives and nutrients won’t necessarily lead to good health.  However, you might fool your body for a while with some of these snacks that border on food porn.  Clearly, these are not essential but they sure might make you feel lit up.  In the meantime, you can sign up for a healing circle for your adrenal glands in a neighborhood near you.

With the myriad of caffeinated products on store shelves these days, there’s hardly any need for coffee. Everything from jerky and sunflower seeds to waffles and ice cream is offering a buzz. We decided to take a look at some of the products currently providing consumers with a caffeine kick.

Because of this influx of new products and their potential appeal to children, the Food and Drug Administration is evaluating their safety and how to best regulate the changing market.

While it does so, we thought we’d share this quick review from Hella Wella and take a closer look at some of the products currently providing consumers with a caffeine kick. Watch out Starbucks!

 

Arma Energy Snx Potato Chips & Granola

“It’s not your mom’s granola,” says Arma Energy Snx’s website. The company makes kettle-cooked potato chips, granola, fruit mix and trail mix — all “energy-infused” with caffeine, taurine and B vitamins. One 2-ounce package of BBQ kettle-cooked chips contains 290 calories and 70 milligrams of caffeine — that’s slightly less than a shot of espresso.

 

Bang! Ice Cream

Even your dessert can bring a buzz. And in the case of Bang! ice cream, you might want to have dessert toward the beginning of the day since one serving dishes out 125 milligrams of caffeine — roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee. The ice cream comes in four flavors: Peanut Butta, Heaps of Gold, Iced Latte-Da and Cooky Mint.

 

Blue Diamond Roasted Coffee Almonds

Blue Diamond jumped on the bandwagon with its roasted coffee-flavored almonds, which contain 25 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Keep in mind, though, that there are four servings per package, so if you plan on chowing down all of it, you’re looking at the same amount of caffeine that’s in some energy shots.

 

Cracker Jack’d

Frito Lay made headlines last November when it announced its new line of snacks: Cracker Jack’D. Unlike the famous Cracker Jacks snack that came before it, Cracker Jack’D comes with 70 milligrams of caffeine — about what you’d get from a shot of espresso. The 2-ounce snack mix comes in flavors like zesty queso, PB & chocolate, berry yogurt and cheddar BBQ.

 

Crackheads2 Gourmet Chocolate Coffee Caffeine

Crackheads2 (squared) makes no apologies for its extreme caffeine content. In fact, it boasts it wherever it can. One box of the candy- and chocolate-coated coffee beans contains 600 milligrams of caffeine — the equivalent of six cups of coffee, 7.5 cans of Red Bull and 11 cans of Mountain Dew, according to the company’s website. Good luck sleeping!

 

Jelly Belly Sport Beans

You (hopefully) won’t find these jellybeans in a kid’s Easter basket. Jelly Belly’s Extreme Sport Beans are advertised as “quick energy for sports performance.” The website recommends popping the beans 30 minutes before your workout and says they’re “loaded with carbs for fuel, electrolytes to help maintain fluid balance and vitamins to optimize energy release and protect cells against oxidative damage.” A single 1-ounce package packs 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of sugar and 50 milligrams of caffeine — a little more of a jolt than you’d get from a can of Diet Coke.

 

Perky Jerky

Perky Jerky found its way onto the market after its creators accidentally drenched their beef jerky in an energy drink and ate it, only to find it boosted their energy as they skied. The brand is advertised as “all natural, ultra premium jerky” that’s made with a seven-ingredient marinade that includes guarana (the stuff you’ll find in energy drinks). One 1-ounce package offers 150 milligrams of caffeine — about what you’d find in a Monster energy drink.

 

Sumseeds

Apparently even sunflower seeds are capable of being infused with caffeine. Sumseeds come in flavors like dill pickle, honey BBQ, ranch, and salt and pepper — in addition to the original flavor — and pack 140 milligrams of caffeine into a single 1.75-ounce bag.

 

Wired Waffles

You won’t need coffee with this breakfast. Wired Waffles are exactly what they sound like: waffles — even maple syrup — with caffeine. With 200 milligrams per waffle and about 48 milligrams per serving of syrup, you’re looking at a buzz stronger than what you’d get from most energy drinks.

 

 

What Would Michael Pollan Buy?

Two of the food industry’s biggest critics are challenged to make a supermarket meal.
Michael Pollan Michael Moss

Spoiler alert: They don’t buy cereal. (Photo: New York Times/YouTube)

This is not the Michaels’ element. Walking through the aisles of an urban supermarket, journalists Micahel Pollan and Michael Moss, who both write about issues of food and health, appear more like reporters in a conflict zone than your average domesticated shopper.

But in a new video and story published in the New York Times this week, that’s exactly what the pair were sent to do: Buy provisions from a grocery store for a meal that would pass muster with the high standards put forward in Pollan’s Cooked and Moss’ Sugar Salt Fat. Unprocessed, low-salt, no added sugar, local, sustainable, organic, humane.

Hence the setting, as the question often raised by Pollan’s books in particular is how can anyone afford the time and money required to eat in the manner he advocates. “There would be no farmers’ market produce, no grass-fed beef or artisanal anything,” reporter Emily Weinstein writes of the challenge.

Initially, the venture doesn’t seem to be going very well.

“This is a cliff of sugar, by and large,” Pollan says, his arms gesturing to a broad swath of the aisles. Maybe all of the aisles?

Moss sees things in similarly nefarious terms: “This seems like such a tranquil atmosphere here: Quiet, peaceful music, smells OK. But behind these shelves is the most fiercely competitive industry there is. They’re all jockeying for position on the shelf, they’re fighting each other for stomach-share,” which Moss defines as “the amount of digestive space that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition,” in his recent story about the science of addictive junk food.

When Pollan begins to talk about the difference between processed foods, hyper processed foods and ultra processed foods, it feels like the whole venture might spin out of control, that the lunch will never be made. But in the freezer aisle, of all places, Pollan finds an everyman ingredient that has a place is his rarefied kitchen too. “This again goes to the distinction between processed foods and hyper processed foods: I think frozen vegetables are terrific, and I always have frozen spinach,” he says, clutching a Birdseye box. “This is a really simple product—it’s basically just spinach.”

The two journalists go on, off camera, to cook a meal of pizza, chickpea soup, and a salad of avocado and oranges. “It had taken more than an hour,” Weinstein writes. “A frozen pizza or canned soup would have been faster and easier to prepare. But, Mr. Moss pointed out, with pre-made dough, easy enough to find, you could make a healthy and delicious pizza in less than 45 minutes.”

It’s not as fast as fast food, but as Pollan and Moss have helped to show us, that grab-and-go culture of eating hasn’t served us well. So why not work for 45 minutes to make pizza?

Sign Up for “Food, Inc.” Updates:

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Related stories on Take Part:

• What Are Your Rules for Good Eating? Tell Michael Pollan

• Cheap, Sustainable, Delicious: Tomato Pie Recipe

• Michael Pollan Cracks a Beer With Stephen Colbert


Willy Blackmore is the food editor at TakePart. He has also written about food, art, and agriculture for such publications as TastingTable, Los Angeles Magazine, The Awl, GOODLA Weekly, The New Inquiry, and BlackBook. Email Willy | TakePart.com

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