By Megan Tran
Before a big test students tend to study through the night with a cup of coffee in hand. Coffee allows students to stay awake longer to cram in more information, but what they should realize are the harmful and toxic effects that coffee contains.
Caffeine, a drug that is naturally produced in certain plants, can be found in coffee, energy drinks, tea, and chocolate.
According to Carrie Chandler, journalist for Magus Health, “ nearly 75% of teens consume caffeine on a daily basis.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants by children and adolescents. High levels of caffeine can lead to agitation, headaches, and dehydration. In dire circumstances, lots of caffeine can cause loss of calcium, heart problems, and deprive the body of valuable nutrients. A maximum of 100 milligrams a day, in roughly 8 ounces or one cup, for adolescents is suggested by Mayo Clinic because even moderate doses can cause symptoms.
Caffeine and its highly susceptible side effects have caused many countries to implement caffeine regulations and procedures. In February, supermarkets in the United Kingdom have voluntarily stopped selling energy drinks to customers under 16.
NPR reported, “European Union and British regulations already require drinks with [high caffeine content] to sport an extra label.”
Students drink a lot more than the recommended limit of caffeine, indicating how students are already addicted to this harmful substance. Students believe that drinking coffee will help improve performance, however it will deter those efforts in the end as well.
The consumption of too much caffeine leads to sleep disturbances in many teens.According to Newport Academy, the lack of sleep in teenagers. can cause poor performance at school and difficulty focusing on specific tasks. Research from Johns Hopkins Medical School shows that performance increases due to caffeine withdrawal. However, caffeine-related performance improvement is nonexistent without caffeine withdrawal.
Instead, teenagers should drink more water and exercise, which both result in an increase in energy level.
While coffee is hailed as the fix to fight fatigue, exercise, according to Harvard Medical School, too speeds up mental process and enhances memory storage. Exercise offers more long-term benefits and lower risks compared to coffee.
“Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day,” the Center for Disease Control reports. “Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better.”
With the intake of coffee already a social norm and available to all ages, teenagers should seek healthier and safer alternatives to coffee in their daily intake such as water and exercising.