Drinking coffee: helpful, harmful

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The life of a college student can be characterized by 20-page papers, all-nighters, high-energy campus events, microwavable dinners and, of course, coffee.

This coffee stuff is really nice, right?

It keeps you warm on a cold day, makes the hours at work seem like minutes and helps the average college student pull an all-nighter to get homework done.

The temptation with coffee is to just keep drinking it until it helps — but it might not be the smartest idea.

Coffee is one of the most common sources of caffeine, although other consumable items contain the drug.

Most adults consume a minimum of two cups of coffee to the maximum of four cups of coffee a day.

“I definitely drink a lot of coffee,” said Isella Jaimes, senior early childhood studies major. “During a school day, I drink three cups of coffee; during finals I drink one cup every two-to-three hours; and during summer I drink one cup of coffee every morning. I have actually got to the point where I am very slow if I do not have at least one cup, or have a headache without it.”

Drinking more than five or six cups of coffee can be very harmful for the body, leading to weight gain, skin wrinkles and high blood pressure.

“While in school I drink around two cups of coffee a day, upwards to five,” Trevor Mannion, senior political science major, said. “I also find caffeine elsewhere, such as energy drinks and soda.”

Mannion works at Starbucks and can get one pound of free coffee a week and up to five free drinks while working on his shift.

“Getting free coffee every week upped my consumption drastically,” Mannion said.

Finals and tests also affect students.
“When finals start at school, I drink one or two cups of coffee a day,” Joseph L. Vedder, junior psychology major, said. “Before working for Starbucks I didn’t drink coffee at all and now I can enjoy a  black cup of coffee from time to time.”

Some negative side effects of coffee include jitters, nervousness, restlessness, irritability and a rapid heartbeat, as well as muscle tremors and insomnia.

Caffeine intoxication, a condition that can result in muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, is another negative side effect.

“I don’t like to drink coffee because it makes me jittery; I prefer to drink tea since it has light caffeine and it makes me feel like a hipster,” said Tzitlali Alvarez, senior health science major.

However, drinking coffee can have some positive effects, including an improved sense of well-being, happiness, energy, alertness and sociability.

Most importantly, it can decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

College students may want to be more aware of their caffeine consumption after learning the positive and negative effects.

Caffeinated products may taste good and provide some benefits, but they should only be consumed once in a while.

About Maribel Ramirez

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