Caffeine consumption poses dangers to consumers


Senior Marta Schmitz drinks coffee at her locker as preparation for the morning. Photo by Brooklyn Reitz

Claire Williams

As Starbucks and similar competing coffee chains have grown into some of the most successful and idolized companies in the modern day, they have created a subsequent rise in caffeine consumption for people of all ages. What these big brand companies won’t advertise, however, is how caffeine can harm their customers and have negative effects on their health.

Caffeine is a stimulant drug that can be used to improve mental processing, helping people feel more alert and focused. While these effects may be attractive for busy working professionals and students, caffeine will not serve as a long term solution for sleep deprivation. Instead, the temporary wakefulness provides a false sense of security for consumers and tricks them into thinking they are well rested. As a result, this can lead to further restlessness and even insomnia.

Many caffeinated drinks are also loaded with unhealthy fats and refined sugars. An Iced Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks contains 34 grams of sugar. This drink alone exceeds the recommended limit for sugar consumption which is set at 30 grams according to the World Health Organization.

While the effects of caffeine can vary from person to person, research supports that overconsumption of caffeine can lead to indigestion, prolonged headaches and can even put consumers at an increased risk for high blood pressure according to the World Health Organization. Nervousness and irritability are other side effects that have been linked to caffeine, both of which can negatively affect one’s capabilities in a working environment.

Health professionals encourage caffeine consumers to place more focus on getting enough sleep to eliminate the need for the stimulant. They also suggest opting for more nourishing alternatives such as natural teas and water as their beverage of choice.

Junior Erika Pemberton said, “I’ve never really drank coffee before. Water is super good for you, so it seems like the best choice.”