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Caffeine boosts energy, health risks

A warm cup of java in the morning can be more detrimental rather than beneficial. While the number of Starbucks coffee houses and soda machines increase, many seem lured into dependence upon caffeine for energy.

“I drink a caffeine drink almost everyday, because I drink soda for lunch,” Victoria Ball, ’08, said. “It gives me a boost of energy. I also love Starbucks; my favorite drink is a white chocolate mocha. I’ve heard people say that coffee stunts your growth but then I read in a magazine that said ‘it’s not true’, but I would drink it either way.”

According to heightening health issues, caffeine heightens levels of cortisol and other hormones for a temporary boost. Once caffeine wears off, the body can suffer from fatigue. In some cases it causes mild to moderate depression.

“During sports I refrain from consuming caffeine because it does not benefit my body in any way,” Aliza Ford, ’07, said. “After awhile I get used to not having much caffeine, so I just don’t include it in my diet.”

Although some athletes refrain from drinking caffeine to boost performance, many college students rely on caffeine for a form of survival during class and study sessions.

“I drink caffeine every morning and sometimes in between classes,” Jenny Hansen, California State University Fresno freshman, said. “Caffeine wakes me up in the morning and it gives me the extra boost I need to get through my hectic days. I have not really heard anything negative about caffeine; I lived in Europe until two years ago and no one talks bad about coffee there.”

Caffeine can also alter sleeping habits. Caffeine keeps people awake longer, so it gives less time in the restoration stages of sleep. This stresses the body and affects the level of alertness the next day and the individual’s overall health.

“Caffeine may also cause gastric irritation and vomiting,” Dr. Evelyn Meddela, Pediatritian of Kaiser Permanente Fresno, said. “It can also cause heart irregularity and an irritable moods.”

Drinking caffeine in moderation can limit side affects.

According to Pat Kendall, Ph.D., R.D. Food Science and Human Nutrition specialist, moderation is the key to enjoying caffeinated beverages without adversely affecting health.

“There are certain conditions however, where it is best to avoid caffeine,” Kendall said. “These conditions include iron deficiency, cardiac arrhythmia, kidney stones, osteoporosis or ulcers.”

To ensure undisturbed sleep do to not intake caffeine after 2 P.M. Another way to moderate the intake of caffeine is to exercise after consuming it.

“I drink caffeine at least once a week but definitely not everyday,” Ryan Aydelotte, ’10, said. “It doesn’t really do anything for me and I’ve heard it’s unhealthy so I try to limit my intake as much as possible.”

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