Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Wondering about Caffeine

Latter-day Saints often wonder about caffeine, sometimes assuming that caffeine must be the reason why we are asked to avoid black tea and coffee. While the Lord has not given us a heavenly Material Data Safety Sheet for those beverages, one can justly be suspicious of caffeine as a stimulant. However, its impact on human health is not necessarily clear. One recent study suggests that caffeine may be helpful in reducing the risk of Parkinson's disease. On the other hand, another study points to bone density loss in women caused by regular caffeine intake, and another recent study points to problems from caffeine for those with diabetes.

Any chemical can affect the human body in hundreds of ways that may never be fully delineated. Could caffeine improve thyroid function, while also increasing the risks of cancer from radon exposure, increasing hair loss for red heads, and increasing the risk of appendicitis for those on the Atkins diet? It's possible.

Personally, I avoid caffeinated beverages (but eat chocolate). When the Lord sees fit to reveal more (perhaps through the medium of peer-reviewed scientific publications), we may eventually learn that LDS people who shunned caffeine were right after all.

18 comments:

T said...

Is it only black tea that's to be avoided? I was under the assumption that all non-herbal teas were to be avoided. So is green tea okay? Seriously, I'm very curious. I've been a member all my life, and thought that all non-herbal teas were a no-go. (Stop laughing...)
I'm a chocoholic, too. ^_^ And I don't drink caffeinated sodas often. Actually, since I've been married, I haven't had as much soda in general because my in-laws (whom we live with) don't keep a lot of sugar in the house. If I'm out somewhere else, I might have a soda (lemon-lime), but that's about it.

Rusty said...

My mom laments that after raising her kids to never drink caffeine, I picked up the habit on my mission in Guatemala. Hey, the Coke was always a sure thing after ingesting some of that food, not to mention drinking what is possibly the worst thing to ever have gone down my throat, jugo de jocote (juice from the fruit of which the cashew is attached). My mission president once said that if we have the choice of a glass of tap water and a Gallo (the common beer), take the Gallo. I would STILL consider that within the limits of the WofW.

cayblood said...

Let's also remember that, although the Lord has good reasons for doing things, we keep the Word of Wisdom first and foremost because latter-day prophets have asked us to. I don't believe that there is anything inherently wrong with consuming alchohol in moderation, but I don't because of the word of wisdom. Christ himself said that he would again drink of the "fruit of the vine" with us in his Father's kingdom. He also provided wine for a wedding, and was accurately accused by pharisees of eating and drinking with the publicans and sinners. And let's not hear any silly notions of it just being "grape juice," which I have heard from other teetotaling evangelicals. Though it was probably not "strong drink," it undoubtedly had some alchoholic content. Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, also said that he was not one to turn down "the good brew" upon occasion. To me, knowing these facts helps us to place the Word of Wisdom in proper perspective as advice (and now a full-fledged commandment) that was primarily designed to protect against the evil designs of conspiring men in the last days.

Another part of the Word of Wisdom that is often willfully neglected is the other dietary guidelines it gives us beyond just warnings against the use of harmful substances. We Mormons are definitely guilty of selective obedience in this regard.

cayblood said...

Let's also remember that, although the Lord has good reasons for doing things, we keep the Word of Wisdom first and foremost because latter-day prophets have asked us to. I don't believe that there is anything inherently wrong with consuming alchohol in moderation, but I don't because of the word of wisdom. Christ himself said that he would again drink of the "fruit of the vine" with us in his Father's kingdom. He also provided wine for a wedding, and was accurately accused by pharisees of eating and drinking with the publicans and sinners. And let's not hear any silly notions of it just being "grape juice," which I have heard from other teetotaling evangelicals. Though it was probably not "strong drink," it undoubtedly had some alchoholic content. Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, also said that he was not one to turn down "the good brew" upon occasion. To me, knowing these facts helps us to place the Word of Wisdom in proper perspective as advice (and now a full-fledged commandment) that was primarily designed to protect against the evil designs of conspiring men in the last days.

Another part of the Word of Wisdom that is often willfully neglected is the other dietary guidelines it gives us beyond just warnings against the use of harmful substances. We Mormons are definitely guilty of selective obedience in this regard.

cayblood said...

Let's also remember that, although the Lord has good reasons for doing things, we keep the Word of Wisdom first and foremost because latter-day prophets have asked us to. I don't believe that there is anything inherently wrong with consuming alchohol in moderation, but I don't because of the word of wisdom. Christ himself said that he would again drink of the "fruit of the vine" with us in his Father's kingdom. He also provided wine for a wedding, and was accurately accused by pharisees of eating and drinking with the publicans and sinners. And let's not hear any silly notions of it just being "grape juice," which I have heard from other teetotaling evangelicals. Though it was probably not "strong drink," it undoubtedly had some alchoholic content. Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, also said that he was not one to turn down "the good brew" upon occasion. To me, knowing these facts helps us to place the Word of Wisdom in proper perspective as advice (and now a full-fledged commandment) that was primarily designed to protect against the evil designs of conspiring men in the last days.

Another part of the Word of Wisdom that is often willfully neglected is the other dietary guidelines it gives us beyond just warnings against the use of harmful substances. We Mormons are definitely guilty of selective obedience in this regard.

cayblood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cayblood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cayblood said...

Sorry about the duplicate posts. I kept getting a servlet error and I assumed that my posts hadn't been saved. Please delete them if possible.

Thanks,
Carl

MrWhipple said...

If I go to heaven and can't have my Dr Pepper, they might as well send me to hell. ;-)

Anonymous said...

If Mormons (and I am one) would spend less time worrying about caffeinated beverages and more time serving our fellow human beings, wouldn´t this world be a better place?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to serve my fellow human beings... a caffinated beverage. ;)
-Charles

Anonymous said...

correct me if i'm wrong but i was told that the high phosphorus levels in sodas was the cause for the loss of bone density in women.. at least according to my nutrition books. Looking into church history it origanally said "hot drinks" which would mean coffee and tea. But in the age of Starbucks both of those drinks can and are served cold. What a dilemma. But i do agree i dont know if i can live with out my Dr. Pepper, i can do without the coffee of tea.

Anonymous said...

How come you can have sugar but can't have caffeine? I've always found that to be somewhat hypocritical since sugar can certainly affect your body as much as caffeine does. It's never made sense to me. Perhaps someone can elaborate.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, green tea comes from the same plant as black tea... so it's out too.

Anonymous said...

so its okay to drink decaf green tea or tea and coffe let me know ive been a member all my life i was just wondering if that is okay to drink decaf teas and coffe let me know

Anonymous said...

Green tea and black tea are produced differently. Black tea goes through a chemical process. Green Tea does not. There is an article about certain herb teas that are okay for use on the lds.org website. I gather that anything that would cause harm to our bodies is out including addictions to Dr. pepper which i have. What about green tea though? It isn't the caffiene that the WoW was refering to... although it can be harmful if not in moderation. Any thoughts on Green tea? I must agree with a fellow poster though.. when talking about how much time we as mormons spend on drinking sodas and teas when there are so many of us overweight. I am one of them. That is more harmful than any of these drinks. How can we put someone down for drinking somthing in moderation when we die of weight induced diabetes. The whole law was to put in place to take care of our "bodies" and not what we drink.

Anonymous said...

So is it okay to drink Green Tea? I was going to use it to lose maybe 10 pounds, but I don't know if it is ok.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps as Mormons who are instructed to treat our bodies like a temple, it would be wise to see that green tea is AT LEAST plant based and a natural source of caffeine, as opposed to man made Dr.Pepper or Coke ( what is thar exactly?).... Fortunately we have been given agency to make wise choices. Is the council to forbid only 2 drinks but welcome all the crappy man made artificial ones? I'll take a coffee over soda any old time.