As reported this week by the Associated Press, an addled coroner declared that a South Carolina high school student who had no heart problems died from heart failure after consuming too much caffeine. The boy had drunk a big bottle of Mountain Dew, a cup of coffee, and an “energy drink.” The caffeine he ingested was less than amount of caffeine in one cup of Starbucks burned Robusta brew.
The good news is that, if this teenager really had no heart problems and was not exposed to any other cause of death, then he must still be alive! This is so, because such small amount of caffeine would not kill anyone. If it could, stretchers would be filled with Starbucks patrons and other coffee drinkers, carrying them to emergency trucks and to the morgue.
Obviously, caffeine paranoia is alive and well! This story, claiming that a healthy young boy died of heart failure caused by drinking a small amount of caffeine, has appeared in dozens of news reports from supposedly reputable sources, including CBS and Fox News, irresponsible web sites, such as the Huffington Post, and dozens of supposedly reputable magazines and newspapers. Reasonable people would do well to sit down, enjoy a cup of caffeinated coffee, and recognize that, for most of us, caffeine safely boosts our mood and improves our health.