How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781594631382
  • 288 Pages
  • Hudson Street Press
  • Adult


The additive that flows under the radar

The most popular drug in America is a white powder. No, not that powder. This is caffeine in its most essential state. And Caffeinated reveals the little-known truth about this addictive, largely unregulated drug found in coffee, energy drinks, teas, colas, chocolate, and even pain relievers.

We’ll learn why caffeine has such a powerful effect on everything from boosting our mood to improving our athletic performance as well as how—and why—brands such as Coca-Cola have ducked regulatory efforts for decades. We learn the differences in the various ways caffeine is delivered to the body, how it is quietly used to reinforce our buying patterns, and how it can play a role in promoting surprising health problems like obesity and anxiety.

Drawing on the latest research, Caffeinated brings us the inside perspective at the additive that Salt Sugar Fat overlooked.


Caffeinated offers a fascinating, often disturbing look at America’s favorite recreational drug.  The book is another reminder that some people will do just about anything to make money–at the expense of our health.”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control

“Riding a buzz clearly generated by its subject, Murray Carpenter’s Caffeinated takes readers around the world on a journey that brings humanity’s favorite drug to life, in all its glory and grime. You’ll never think the same way about your morning cup of coffee again.”—Mark McClusky, Editor,

Caffeinated is the entertaining, sweeping, well-researched saga of the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug and its various delivery systems, from coffee and Coca-Cola to chocolate and energy drinks.  Murray Carpenter, himself a happy addict, covers the caffeinated waterfront.” –Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country & Coca-Cola and Uncommon Grounds
Caffeinated is a surprising exposé of the “caffeine industrial complex,” the industry that markets this substance in every form it can.  This book compellingly argues that the health hazards of excessive caffeine intake need more attention and better regulation.  I’m convinced.  You will be too.”—Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, and author of What to Eat

“I’m not sure if Murray Carpenter’s splendid book, Caffeinated, will lead you to drink more coffee, or less. But it will certainly make you think about your next cup of joe (or tea or Red Bull) in new and startling ways. Carpenter makes a mighty mountain out of a milligram, weaving together a story of history, science, lore and slick marketing in ways that offer surprising vistas at every turn.”—Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum

“I don’t even drink coffee, but I found Caffeinated enlivening, with just the right overtones of sweet and bitter. Weaving together history, law and science, Carpenter makes a compelling case that most of us are addicted to a brilliantly marketed drug disguised as a mellow morning ritual. Fascinating, disturbing, to be savored.”—Florence Williams, author of Breasts 
“From unassuming Diet Cokes to the canned monstrosities chugged by college kids, caffeine seems to be in nearly everything we drink – but where does it come from, what does it do to our bodies, and why have we come to consume so much of it? In Caffeinated, Murray Carpenter gives us the answers. He traces the evolution of this habit, from idyllic highland coffee farms in Guatemala to regulations-averse Chinese factories that produce mountains of synthetic caffeine. Caffeinated distills an extraordinary reporting effort on this long-used “flavoring agent” into a captivating tale of insidious drugging that deserves shelf space alongside Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”—Jennie Erin Smith, author of Stolen World

“The world’s most popular stimulant now has a book to match. A double espresso shot of java journalism, Caffeinated brews up a masterly combination of page-turning narrative with deeply researched history and news. From professional athletes to industry insiders, from the coffee plantations of Colombia to the world’s largest, most secretive caffeine manufacturing plant in the hinterlands of China, Carpenter spill the beans on America’s drug of choice. More eye-opening than a case of Red Bull!”—Dan Hurley, author of Smarter
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