Caffeine take-over: is it beneficial or harmful?

Alexis Polizzi, Staff Writer

According to USA Today, Starbucks sells roughly four million coffee related beverages every day, and Americans consume around 3.1 kg of coffee per capita. There are roughly 55,426 coffee shops around the U.S. But is caffeine really all it adds up to be?  What are the real effects from the copious amounts of caffeine Americans, including Plainfield South students, take in daily?

According to Mayo Clinic, a non-profit organization based upon clinical research and teaching, adults can safely consume 200 to 300mg of caffeine daily. If adults were to go over the recommended dosage per day, violent side effects, such as agitation, anxiety, shakiness, rapid heart rate, headaches and, dehydration, may ensue. The recommended dosage is even lower for adolescents.

According to Lexie Alcantar, sophomore, they drink caffeinated beverages in order to wake up due to their lack of sleep. Although when they tend not to drink caffeine they get anxiety and become very jittery. Caffeine has both pros and cons in its daily usage.

Although daily caffeine intake is rising, it has been shown to be non-addictive.

According to Melinda Ratini, family practitioner at Lower Bucks Hospital, St. Mary Medical Center in Bucks County, Pa., caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine causes only mild physical dependence.

Ratini says that caffeine doesn’t threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs do. However, if coffee drinkers stop taking caffeine abruptly, they may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if one consumes two or more cups of coffee a day.

Some South students can relate to the coffee craze.

“It really depends, maybe once every two weeks, maybe more, really depending on how I feel,” said Julia Graham, freshman. Even the people who don’t drink the overly excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages, can experience the size effects of caffeine.

A survey was given to 113 PSHS students asking on their personal experience with caffeine.  63 percent reported that caffeine related products produced positive effects on their life, all of which included that caffeine gave them energy that powered them through the day. Half of those people consumed five or more caffeinated beverages weekly.

According to Kellie Barker, sophomore, she believes that caffeine affects her both positively and negatively.  She says it helps her wake up and tastes great, but sometimes it causes her stomach to hurt and causes her to be too energetic. Barker also states, when she doesn’t receive her daily cup of coffee, she often becomes irritable and has a significant energy drain. Not only is caffeine affecting the students here at Plainfield South, but the teaching staff as well.

According to Meghan Leibforth, English II honors, and English III teacher, if she consumes too much coffee her mind races and she has trouble concentrating. She can go long periods of time without coffee but it could cause her mind to slow. So caffeine effects the staff as much as the students

Caffeine does a lot from keeping people awake while cramming for tests, and giving stomach aches from the bitter taste. It influences what many people’s actions during the day, and their performance during the school day. The perspective is different for everyone on the caffeine epidemic, but what is positive is that caffeine has many advantages and disadvantages and it’s up to the person holding the cup whether or not they wish to indulge on one of the many caffeinated beverages.