By: Riley Suszkiw
Whether it is a Starbucks Frappuccino or a RedBull, caffeine consumption is an increasingly important facet of high school life.
What was once thought of as a nasty bitter drink, coffee today is popularized and a fond energizer for teens. Cream, sugar and everything in between attracts students and helps keep them going.
A recent poll of about 100 Glenelg students shows that about half of them drink coffee, and about a third consume energy drinks. Studies from the University of Michigan Health Blog found that in 2014 around 73 percent of school-aged students intake caffeine everyday. Some may say these numbers are high and caffeine intake should be lower for teens.
For healthy adults, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. The University of Michigan Health Blog also stated that “Adolescents ages 12 to 18 should cap daily caffeine intake at 100 mg,” a quarter of what adults should have. Therefore, teens could potentially overdo it on caffeine and start having health issues, especially considering that some energy drinks contain up to 300mg of caffeine, 2-3 times as much as a cup of coffee.
According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects of high caffeine usage include headaches, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, frequent urination or inability to control urination, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.”
Senior Mateo Rojas relies on caffeine to keep him awake throughout the day. Known by his friends as a “puppet dangling on the strings of caffeine,” Rojas felt that a large part of his caffeine usage was because of his “lack of sleep” due to school work and outside activities.
For others, like junior Rhea Sunkara, caffeine is the “only thing that keeps me motivated in the morning … two cups of green tea and Starbucks after school.”
Caffeine is not just an energizer for academics. Athletes also utilize caffeine. Many think that caffeine gives them that last boost of energy that they need to succeed. Varsity Cross Country runner Micheal Lau, junior, is one of them.
“Obviously, it is well known that we load up on carbs before races, but right before a race, a bit of caffeine can help me a lot,” Lau said.
As students continue to operate with early schedules, and busy ones as well, caffeine might become more of a necessity. Until then, it is important for students to be educated on the benefits and drawbacks of caffeine consumption.