Researcher Roland Griffiths’ ten-year crusade to demonize soft drink and coffee producers has resurfaced again with a new study of 24 soda drinkers. This time, he’s making accusations that soft drink makers add caffeine to beverages to addict consumers. Comparing caffeine to nicotine, Griffiths said “both are psychoactive drugs.” Griffiths’ latest addiction claims were rebutted by Alan Leshner, the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (which funded the research).
In 1990, Griffiths was scolded by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) for trying to link abstaining from caffeine with illegal drug withdrawal. IFIC warned, “Extreme caution should be used in interpreting the results of this study.” IFIC added: “The sample size of only seven subjects [himself and six fellow researchers] is so small that it cannot be interpreted as representative of the population.”
· In 1994, Griffiths claimed that caffeine in coffee, tea and cola can produce addiction similar to heroin and cocaine.
· In 1997, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) cited Griffiths’ work when calling for mandatory warning labels any food containing caffeine, including coffee yogurt.
· The Nation magazine showcased Griffiths’ research in 1998, quoting him as saying caffeinated soft drinks contained “a pharmacological destabilizer.”
· In 1999, Griffiths told reporters, “Coffee is the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world.”
Is it time for Griffiths to wake-up and smell the coffee?