Caffeine Consumption


Roslynn Besel, Reporter

Busy coffee shops can be found on every corner, vending machines are packed full of energy drinks, and students rush to class with iced coffees in their hands practically everyday. This is the caffeine-induced culture of modern high school and it’s something often looked at as bad or even borderline dangerous. Others, however, argue that there are more benefits than repercussions to the consumption of caffeine. What’s the reasoning behind both stances? Is one right or wrong?

The ill effects of caffeine have been an increasingly popular research topic in recent years due to the skyrocketing numbers of caffeinated beverages and overall escalating consumption thereof. Everything from irritability to insomnia has been linked in some way to caffeine, causing many people to be weary of the controversial chemical. Food and Nutrition teacher Mrs. Pate weighed in on the negative side effects, “Too much caffeine can result in anxiety, restlessness, agitation, an irregular heartbeat, and trouble falling asleep at night.” Pate stressed that the issue with caffeine only comes when consumed in high amounts, “the problem comes when when you are drinking super strong drinks with over 100 milligrams of caffeine per serving.” These drinks include several energy drinks and venti coffees.

If it’s suggested that caffeine is only a problem when abused, what is a “healthy” dose of caffeine? According to Pate, “If a student was just drinking a cup of coffee in the morning before school, even with some milk and sugar in it, I wouldn’t see it as a problem.” She also brought up that, when consumed in moderate amounts, caffeine can have some benefits as well, “caffeine often results in better work production, being more active, and has even been linked to the prevention of some diseases.” A few of these diseases include Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and some cancers.

Several students have also claimed that they benefit from caffeine. For senior Serina Mcgregor, caffeine is an important part of her daily life, “It helps me feel more awake and motivated in the mornings and without it it’s a lot harder to get things done.” Mcgregor, like many other students, relies on drinks such as coffee to help manage her busy schedule and give her enough energy to move through the day.

While Mcgregor focuses more on how caffeine helps her, senior Elise Wrinkle recognizes that her caffeine consumption is somewhat unhealthy, “I can’t go a day without coffee or some kind of caffeine, and it’s definitely not good to be so dependent on it.” This reliance on caffeine, sometimes referred to as caffeine addiction, is a growing concern in the health science community, particularly when it comes to teens. Some worry that depending too much on caffeine, especially beginning at such a young age, will result in several long term consequences like heart and kidney failure.

Although researchers continue to uncover new information regarding caffeine, the debate surrounding the chemical is ongoing as no side has been proven right or wrong. Pate believes the answer to whether caffeine is good or bad is dependent upon the person and their habits, making the answer different for everyone. If this is true, and these habits begin to develop in high school, then the effects caffeine has on a student later in life will depend on their actions now.