Caffeine crave captures consumers

By Vickie Papageorge
November 17, 2006

The National Coffee Association recently predicted that 68 percent of Americans will be hooked on coffee this year. This percentage is compared with the 64 percent that was predicted for last year. Caffeine-laced energy drinks such as Redbull and Monster are expected to rise 60 percent this year also, according to 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine each day.

This increasing dependence on caffeine brings the question as to whether coffee and caffeine drinks actually help keeping one energized and going throughout the day. Are they really what they are cracked up to be? Should people really be depending on such drinks to get them through classes, work days and every day routines?

Dana Marrazini, a freshman marketing major, said, “Absolutely. On Mondays and Fridays my roommate and I get lattes before our 8:15 a.m. class just to keep ourselves awake.” She is just one of the many students who depend on caffeine and coffee to stay focused and awake during their classes.

Caffeine is an alkaloid which is found in coffee, tea, cola nuts, mate and guarana. It is used as a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant that temporarily fights off drowsiness and provides alertness. It takes less than an hour for caffeine to actually affect the body and it starts to wear off after three to four hours.

Besides the temporary relief caffeine provides, it also has proven to be an ergogenic. It increases the capacity for mental and physical labor. After drinking coffee, a person soon feels more energized and capable to start their day and their routine.

Amanda Arnold, a sopomore mathematics and secondary education major, said, “After I drink a cup of coffee, I immediately feel like I’m ready to go and get things done. It takes a few sips and my eyes are open.”

The immediate relief most feel after taking a few sips of any caffeine laced drink has also proven its addictive qualities.

When caffeine is consumed over long periods of time, it can become addicting. It can lead to a conditioned called, caffeinism. Caffeinism involves the dependency on caffeine with a wide range of physical and mental conditions such as nervousness, anxiety, tremulousness and many others. To avoid this condition there happens to be many other temporary cures for drowsiness during the day instead of caffeine.

Author and doctor Julian Whittaker said in his novel, “The Memory Solution”, “What caffeine actually does is set off a stress response causing tense muscles, elevated blood sugar and increased pulse and respiration. You may feel mentally sharper because your brain is high on adrenaline. One cup of coffee for most people isn’t damaging. But if stress hormones remain elevated, the body is thrown into a state of chronic stress. By sipping on coffee, tea or caffeinated soda all day long, you are forcing your adrenal glands to continue to pump out stress hormones.”

Instead of caffeine, a healthy breakfast is recommended, to provide energy throughout the day. Caffeine, if not taken in large amounts over long periods of time, will not damage your body there are better solutions for drowsiness.

Caryn McDermott, a sophomore political science major, said, “I find that coffee doesn’t work for me anymore. I used to be late to school because I would need to stop and buy myself a cup of coffee to help me wake up. It doesn’t help me anymore which I find depressing but now I eat a good breakfast before class which usually helps me stay awake.”

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Vickie Papageorge

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