Society needs to cut back on daily caffeine intake

Natalie Barletta – Special to the Southern News

Like clockwork, every morning I’m at Dunkin Donuts, eager to get my caffeine fix on. It’s something that I once could forfeit, but now like a drug I need it to survive. Without my coffee it’s safe to say that I’m walking around like a complete and total zombie. Hi, my name is Natalie and I am a caffeine addict.

It first started out as me strongly hating it. The taste was too bitter for my liking, and honestly I didn’t understand the point of drinking it. When I first tried it, I was bouncing around everywhere,and was completely wired. After a period of time, it no longer had that effect on me. Eventually it turned into the point where my coffee cups got larger, and the effects that they had on me grew smaller.

Approximately 54 percent of American adults drink coffee everyday according to a study at Harvard University. Most of the subjects were college students who were using caffeine to survive their day to day college life, in addition to when finals come and everyone is stressed. The main question here is, why are college students so dependant on caffeine?

“I see people using it as a crutch,” says Southern Connecticut State University student, Marissa D’Angelo. Without a doubt, there’s a bit of truth of that. Whenever I don’t get much sleep, I am more drawn to my coffee mug then when I’m awake. However, can that be harmful for your health?

Research has shown that having a couple of cups daily is good for your health. According to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, having caffeine helps people stay alert and focused. But, what constitutes drinking too much coffee? If you’re drinking coffee the Lorelei Gilmore way then you should seriously start to rethink your coffee drinking habits. The recommended daily consumption of caffeine is about 300 mg. So, how does this add up?

Well, let’s take that cup of Dunkin Donuts that we get in the morning. In a ten ounce serving of coffee, also known as a medium sized, we get 132 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Caffeine Informer. That’s considered to be high, because it’s almost half of the recommended intake of caffeine there. According to the Caffeine Informer website, coffee has on average 100 milligrams of caffeine. In addition to coffee, we have other ways of getting caffeine into our systems. Tea, which according to the USDA has 26 milligrams of caffeine is another popular drink that does in fact have caffeine. We can also get caffeine from energy drinks, which have a shocking amount of 160 milligrams of caffeine. Even chocolate has about 12 milligrams. Basically caffeine is found everywhere. It’s easy to go overboard with having too much caffeine when it surrounds us. How can that affect us?

Having too much caffeine can have many side effects that can bleed into other areas of our daily lives. For starters, it can help us have more trouble sleeping. Since it helps you stay awake and alert, it can interfere with your sleeping patterns and make it difficult to wind down at night. In addition to that, it can cause anxiety, dizziness, and nervousness. The biggest symptom that I’ve found is that when I don’t have my cup of coffee, then I’m exhausted throughout the day.

Thinking of cutting back? Going through caffeine withdrawal is kind of tough. If you’re thinking about easing off of your coffee drinking habits, I suggest doing it gradually. Instead of drinking four, slow down to three for a few days, then two, and so on. I think that’s its better to do that then quit cold turkey, because that way you’ll be able to ease yourself off of it, instead of going through the symptoms of withdrawal.

I think having a cup of coffee a day won’t be too damaging to your health, however, I think addiction becomes a problem when you’re drinking more than that. I think like coffee, like all other things in life, should be done in moderation. You’ll still find me getting my medium cup of pumpkin coffee with cream and sugar every morning at Dunkin. However, I’ll try to make that my only cup.

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