College students and coffee: A match made in heaven?

Understanding the pros and cons of caffeine consumption amongst college students

Mirella Barrera-Betancourt | Staff Writer

Classes at Western are underway, and with them has initiated the caffeine rush so many university students experience. Studies have found that over 50% of university students consume caffeinated beverages daily. With coffee being a staple in almost every student’s diet and lifestyle, it is important to consider the potential health benefits — and detriments — of drinking it, including what it could mean for students’ bank accounts and mental energy.

Pro: Boosts metabolism

Coffee, specifically black coffee, contains chlorogenic acid, which has been linked with lowering glucose levels. This kick starts metabolism, eventually leading to weight loss. That being said, coffee must be consumed in moderation in order for it to take effect. The recommended amount of coffee is 400 milligrams per day.

Con: Increases anxiety levels and the likelihood of panic attacks

Caffeine is a stimulant drug, and while it keeps one awake, consuming too much, or even the recommended amount, can lead to jitteriness, muscle twitches, heart palpitations and even an increased likelihood of panic attacks.

Pro: Decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes

People who drink a moderate amount of coffee are 65% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. As for diabetes, the antioxidants found in coffee can aid in boosting metabolism and insulin levels, which can help keep insulin levels from plummeting.

Con: Loss of sleep

Caffeine has been found to disrupt the REM sleep cycle, as well as one’s circadian rhythm — which is the body’s internal alarm clock. Add that to the little amount of sleep many students already experience due to exams and assignments and it can all become a big hassle. To avoid this, it is better to consume caffeine in the mornings.

Pro: Increase in memory retention, focus and mental energy

Small doses of caffeine in the system can help with minor attention issues, such as being unable to focus during lessons or difficulty with storing information. It increases levels of alertness, and in dire circumstances, can help one remain awake with a boost of energy.

Con: The cost adds up over time

Caffeinated beverages are expensive, especially if bought from popular coffee chains. If consumed daily, perhaps it is best to make a pot at home.

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