Rethinking Those Daily Starbucks Runs…

Mmmm. Caffeine. And wrinkles.

College is stressful. And stress makes us do some pretty crazy things for the sake of a good grade, such as harming our bodies without even knowing it.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Let me break it down.

Do you ever finish a decently long paper around 2 a.m. saying, “I am so ready for bed,” then lying there staring at the ceiling for the next three hours wide awake?  Yeah, me too.

You know you should be tired, but somehow your brain just doesn’t want to turn off. Could it be anxiety…or could it be those 2 Red Bulls and venti latte you pounded between the hours of 11 am and 9 pm?

You know you needed them to get through the day, but do you have any idea what all that caffeine is doing to your body? Even more, do you even have any clue how much caffeine you even ingested?

According to the LA Times, most people have no idea how much caffeine we’re really consuming each day.  “Caffeine turns up in expected places, in unexpected amounts. And recent years have seen an explosion in the number of caffeinated products on the market: energy drinks, of course, but also chewing gum, candy bars and (for a brief while) potato chips.” Not only that, but none of these products tell us how much caffeine they contain, so most of us are getting more than we think and way more than we should be.

Now, as a college student like most of you, I don’t really have time to give a flying fudgesicle bar about how much caffeine I’m taking in. If it helps me get through that essay (or perks me up before that big party), I’ll drink it. And then I’ll get a refill. But after doing some research, it seems that maybe I should care. Just look what caffeine does to your body:

* Insulin spikes caused by caffeinated beverages create a blood sugar roller coaster, which leads to a crashing effect. (That can’t be good for marathon study sessions.)
*  Our blood vessels constrict, reducing the flow of oxygen to important areas like your brain (up to 30%) and your extremities.
* Digestion and the immune system are impaired or suppressed.
* The production of DHEA and other anti-aging hormones is decreased.
* Coffee consumption leads to a loss of Calcium and Magnesium

So what does that all mean?

Well, in a chocolate-and-peanut-butter-covered nutshell, it means that we all gotta be more careful. First, you gotta know how much caffeine is recommended per day. Most doctors say people should have a maximum of 300 milligrams. Next, we gotta know how much caffeine is in the things we drink and eat and re-evaluate our caffeine choices. Most products don’t share that information (and that’s the major problemo), but it’s safe to say that starting your morning at Starbucks, taking a Mountain Dew break at lunch and downing a few Jager Bombs post dinner is not going to bode well for your body. Or that soft, ageless skin of yours.

Looks like Starbucks isn’t the answer to all your problems, after all.

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