Sunday, May 20, 2007

Caffeinated Mormons

I recently came across a post on the LDS blog By Common Consent that featured the caffeine content of a variety of popular drinks. One particular comment on the thread got me thinking about how many of these drinks stack up to some popular chocolate products on a caffeine per ounce basis. The results are sure to keep the debate on whether caffeine is prohibited by the Mormon Word of Wisdom raging on...


Caffeine per Ounce

Starbucks Coffee

23.3 ML

Brewed Coffee

13.4 ML

Rock Star

10 ML

Red Bull

9.6 ML

Mountain Dew

4.6 ML

Dr. Pepper

3.4 ML

Sunkist Orange Soda

3.4 ML

Coca Cola

2.8 ML

Barq's Root Beer

1.8 ML

Hot Cocoa

.63 ML


David said...

So what's your take on it Marc?

BA said...

I think you'll be hard pressed to find any Mormons who say that caffeine is per se (I'm really working on integrating legal terminology in my daily life) a violation of the Word of Wisdom.

My take on it has always been, being addicted to anything isn't great. I'm 1000% (10 x 100%) addicted to caffeinated soda and I can pretty safely say I'm breaking the Word of Wisdom. It's so hard to say no when it feels so good to say yes.

Marc said...

David - I agree with BA. I don't think caffeine is per se against the Word of Wisdom, but I think you violate the spirit of the law if you drink caffeinated beverages excessively so as to create a dependency. Along the same lines, I think eating any number of unhealthy foods excessively violates the WoW.

BA - I agree with your take on caffeine, but I disagree about it being difficult to find Mormons who think caffeinated beverages are per se against the WoW.... I know a good number in my ward here alone.

BA said...

Well Marc, I purposely didn't say caffeinated sodas because I know weirdos (my mom) who think it is against the WoW. Most semi-intelligent people realize that chocolate has caffeine in it. And there's no way you're getting that Burnt Almond Fudge away from my mom.

Marc said...


woo said...

Also please note that Sunkist only has caffeine in it outside of the great Zion Camp. Those of us who live under the cover of Zion's Tent, or the Hen's Wing as it were, know that Coca-Cola has given in to the Supreme Being and NOT added caffeine to its Non-cola Utah beverages. Since all good Mormon's live under this Safe Cover, you should strike them from your list.
the management

angiek said...

The whole caffeine debate is annoying. My MIL drinks Diet Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper and like BA's mom always has the BYU barrel of Burnt Almond Fudge in her freezer. I think drinking/eating too much caffeine falls under the same category as eating anything unhealthy/addictive for our bodies.

tigerfoxbear said...

I agree with BA and with you Dr Bohn (the Jr Dr Bohn). I think that if they rewrote the WoW today, they would definitely include caffeine in there, well hopefully they'd include all carbonated soft drinks. I think the sugar in these drinks is just as detrimental to the body as the caffeine.

The WoW is great, and again I am agreeing with BA here, it's main purpose (IMHO) is to help people abstain from addictive substances, with a side purpose of giving guidelines for healthy living. Carbonated soft drinks are a double whammy being addictive and unhealthy.

woo said...

At the risk of saying something not sarcastic, and having my comment ignored (significan risk mind you), I think another significant reason (beyond avoiding addiction, and health) is so we can learn obedience, in the face of perhaps even logic and reason. I think the WOW invites everyone to study and pray about what it calls for, and to not only make changes to their lifestyle, but to grow closer to God in the process.

P.S. But I'll be damned (perhaps literally?) if I have to cut back on my consumption of delicious meat...

Alifinale said...

A little off the subject...but not totally. My work (dental company) came out with these brochures that talked about how bad soft drinks are for your teeth (not just for the sugar, but for the acid). It even showed before and after pics of kids mouths who drank soda excessively. It was very disturbing and I brought it home to scare BA. It didn't work.

Tara said...

I agree with BA & Bohn. I think that anything that causes you to become dependent on it can become a violation of the WoW. I also think that coke is the most delicious beverage known to mankind.

Marc said...

I think most of us seem to have the same perspective on this... though I don't subscribe to TFB's view on the likelihood of caffeine being included in the WoW were it rewritten today (which would necessarily involve a ban on most chocolate products).

The WoW was never intended to be some comprehensive list of everything bad for us (sugar, carbonated soft drinks, caffeine, or the like), nor do I think we're expected to cut everything unhealthy out of our diets altogether. There's certainly a time and place for cheesecake.

At the risk of being redundant, I see the WoW as more a set of principles by which to live our lives. I think Woo hit on a key point. We are not meant to be commanded in all things. Ultimately we need to study and praying about how to implement the WoW in our own lives, something that might not lead everyone to the same conclusions. Some of us might decide to eat more meat than others while some might steer clear of fast food, processed sugar, or caffeine. In spite of these differences though, I think if people sincerely make an effort to apply the principles as they understand them in their own lives, in the end they'll feel better about themselves and be more in control of their own lives.

PS - If this post got too serious, it's ALL Woo's fault.

woo said...

I was imagining the "full house" special solemn moment of learning music as I read your post. Bravo!


Marc said...

Everybody now...

"Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There's a heart (there's a heart)
A hand to hold on to.
Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There's a face of somebody who needs you."

BA said...

Cut It Out!

Tara said...

You got it dude.

buddens said...

So, if what Tara said, that "anything that causes you to become dependent on it can become a violation of the WoW" is true, does that mean blogging is against the WoW?

Tara said...

Well mostly I was talking about substances that can cause a physical dependency. But I suppose if blogging started causing you to stay up all hours of the night and miss church and your other duties it could become a problem!