Addicted to Caffeine

STORY BY: XALLY SALGADO

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It is that time of year...

when students are willing to stand 20 minutes in line to get a cup of coffee. Yes, I am referring to midterms week. So why do students consume so much caffeine?

Maybe it is because many students feel they need it to get through those traumatic last weeks of the semester.

“I feel more awake even just thinking about the fact that I’m going to have caffeine,” said Sabrina Flores, CSULB student and Daily 49er photo editor. “It really does make me feel more alert. Sometimes I get intense headaches and then I drink coffee and they pretty much just fade away.”

Coffee is not the only form of caffeine students consume. Here are a few others:

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Caffeine found in coffee and tea is natural, whereas caffeine in products such as soft drinks and energy drinks is added, according to Steffanie Castañeda, Student Relations Chair for the CSULB Student Dietetic Association.

Caffeine has many attractive qualities, especially for stressed students on the go.

“Coffee gets me through college,” said CSULB journalism student Taylor Williams. “I’m taking 18 units, so it’s basically an essential this semester and I like the taste of it. I went through a phase with energy drinks, but they’re too gnarly.”

Some positives of caffeine are:

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Now, before running off to consume caffeine, consider the negatives as well. If adults consume more than the limit or have pre-existing health conditions, they may want to think twice before drinking a caffeinated beverage.

Here are some of caffeine’s negative effects:

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Anything in moderation won’t have a negative effect on the human body, right? For the most part. So, how much is too much?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is safe for a healthy adult to consume. In perspective, that is about 4 cups of brewed coffee.

But when does caffeine become not enough?

“While the caffeine may make a person more alert for small periods of time, it does not provide us with energy,” said Castañeda. “Coffee is known for having many benefits, however, it should not be one’s breakfast, but be accompanied with a breakfast meal.”

Up for trying something new?  If reading the negatives about caffeine has discouraged to consume caffeine, there are some great alternatives. “Getting a good night’s rest and staying hydrated provides the desired mental clarity that helps one focus during exams and not feel burnt out from lack of sleep and dehydration,” said Castañeda.

So, even though students may see caffeine as a gift from a higher power, please remember to consume responsibly.

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