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Cola Drinks and Caffeine
Part 1: What is the LDS Church's stand on caffeine, cola drinks, and chocolate?
 More of this Feature

• Cola Drinks and Caffeine
• Common Sources of Caffeine
• Caffeine and Your Health
 

 Related Resources
• Is Decaff Coffee and Non Alcoholic Beer Okay?
• Lesson and Talk Index
• LDS Basic Beliefs
• LDS Glossary
 
 From Other Guides
• Mental Health: Caffeine Allergy
• Pregnancy: Caffeine and Miscarriages
 
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Is the Church against cola drinks? (Scroll Down)
• Caffeine-The Subtle Addiction
 

If you're new to the Church or been a lifetime member I'm sure you've heard the cola/caffeine debate over and over. Some say to keep the Word of Wisdom you shouldn't drink cola drinks, others say it doesn't matter. So what's the Church's stand on cola drinks? Here you'll find what the LDS Church has published about cola drinks, caffeine, and the Word of Wisdom.

In 1975 The New Era's Question/Answer section asked, "Is it against Church standards to drink cola beverages or any other beverage containing caffeine?" Bishop H. Burke Peterson, who was the First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric at the time answered:

"'And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man.' (D&C 89:10)

"We should notice the word wholesome and always consider the things that we take into our body as to whether they are wholesome or not. The scripture continues, 'All these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.' (D&C 89:11) Consider the word prudence. Would eating a whole apple pie or a cake or watermelon at one sitting be prudent? It is contrary to the principles embodied in the Word of Wisdom to take an excess of anything into our bodies.

"Two of the tests we can employ as we question the use of any food or beverage are: Is it wholesome? Is it prudent? As we know, some of us need more rest than others. These same principles imply that we should not tax our bodies beyond good judgment. Finally, remember that the Lord has counseled:

'For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.' (D&C 58:26)

"We know that cola drinks contain the drug caffeine. We know caffeine is not wholesome nor prudent for the use of our bodies. It is only sound judgment to conclude that cola drinks and any others that contain caffeine or other harmful ingredients should not be used." ("Q&A: Questions and Answers," New Era, Oct. 1975, 34 NOTE: Scroll down to Bishop Peterson's question/answer section about cola drinks.)

Is the above quote still valid since it was published over 25 years ago? Here's what the Ensign printed about caffeine and cola drinks in 1988:

"Apparently, the potency of caffeine is related to body weight. To a 150-pound adult, 'a cup of instant coffee or a can of cola beverage could give about 1 mg caffeine per kilogram of body weight. In a very young child, a cup of chocolate or a candy bar would give the same proportion of stimulant to body weight. When this child drinks a can of cola, … caffeine intake is comparable to an adult drinking four cups of instant coffee. … Restlessness, irritability, sleeplessness, and nervousness are some of the symptoms.'

"According to a statement in the Priesthood Bulletin of February 1972 (volume 8, number 1), 'There has been no official interpretation of [the] Word of Wisdom except that which was given by the Brethren in the very early days of the Church when it was declared that ‘hot drinks’ meant tea and coffee.

'With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.'" (Clifford J. Stratton, "Caffeine—The Subtle Addiction," Ensign, June 1988, 60)

So does this mean we shouldn't drink cola drinks? I think we need to be wise in our choice of foods and drinks. To obey the Word of Wisdom we can't use tobacco, drink coffee or tea, or use drugs, but we must individually decide for everything else. We know what the scriptures say, what the Church's counsel is, and we must choose. If we feel we wouldn't be obeying the Word of Wisdom by drinking cola drinks, then don't drink them, if we feel that we shouldn't eat a chocolate bar or other dessert every day then don't do it and you will be blessed. If we become addicted to a substance we are being controlled by the substance and are not obeying the Word of Wisdom.

I believe drinking a cola drink now and then just as eating a chocolate bar every once in awhile is fine. Drinking a cola drink or eating a chocolate bar every day would not be healthy and in my opinion if I did this I would not be obeying the Word of Wisdom, but that would be my opinion and my choice, that would affect me and no one else.

To learn how much caffeine there is in coffee, cola drinks, chocolate, medications, and diet pills see Part Two: Common Sources of Caffeine

Find out how caffeine can affect your health, sleep, pregnancy & fertility, anxiety, headaches, and much more in Part Three: Caffeine and Your Health

Next page > Common Sources of Caffeine > Page 1, 2, 3

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