Admit it. You stay up late. You eat an obscene amount of junk food. You hardly take your vitamins. You procrastinate. You are living the collegiate lifestyle in all of its glory. You drink coffee to get by and survive the grueling daily routine that has become your life.
According to a report issued out of Harvard’s School of Public Health, 54 percent of adults over the age of eighteen consume coffee every single day.
Coffee is available to students in countless ways. Most universities have at least one on-campus site that brews and sells coffee to their students. Additionally, various coffee shops are strewn all over cities and towns alike. Coffee can be served at any hour in any way that is most convenient to the customer.
Rutgers student Billy Egan said, “I’ll drink coffee every single day. Sometime it’s once a day, sometimes it’s three or four times a day. If I have a huge paper or exam to prepare for, I cannot even get started without getting myself a cup of coffee first. For me, it has become a psychological, emotional, and mental dependency. I love it”.
The Huffington Post reports the United States imports over $4 billion worth of coffee a year. As coffee consumption rates steadily increase, health professionals are at constant battle over the positive and negative effects of regular coffee consumption amongst young adults.
College students drink coffee for the instant effects that are often associated with caffeine intake: energy, alertness, and that jittery feeling that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.
The Harvard School of Public Health claims that avid coffee consumption can possibly decrease the risk of certain diseases and ailments such as gallstones, liver cancer, cirrhosis, heart disease, and parkinson’s disease. In fact, caffeine, which is rich in antioxidants, has been reported to actively lower sensitivity to insulin- an indicator that caffeine can actually lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
While some students love coffee for the way that it makes them feel, others dislike the physical effects that caffeine has on them. Kristina Leale, a senior education major, has been reluctantly drinking coffee for years.
“I hate the way that coffee makes me feel. I drink it for energy but it makes me feel sick and restless. I shake, I ramble, and it aggravates my stomach and overall sense of wellbeing. I can’t believe something that prevents me from relaxing and sleeping can be good for me,” she said.
Similarly, Dr. Novek, Associate Professor of Communication, is also not a fan of caffeine.
“I drink decaf because caffeinated coffee makes my heart race. I drink it black with no sugar,” she said.
Even if you find yourself among those who enjoy caffeine’s effects, health specialists have also argued that avid coffee consumption can also have a negative impact on one’s health.
Coffee is known to attack the nervous system. Acid reflux, indigestion, ulcers, symptoms of IBS, and heartburn are all thought to be exacerbated by coffee. Those with sensitive stomachs are often advised to avoid caffeine consumption to relieve their symptoms.
The Harvard School of Public Health also claims that those who consume coffee are more likely to have a higher caloric intake that those who do not. Their reasoning behind this claim is that most people who drink coffee add milk, creamers, and flavorful syrups that are rich in caloric content.
“Certain coffees are less aggressive on my stomach than others,” Christopher Tossonoti, a freshman communication major “I’ve found that coffee at Starbuck’s is way too strong for me. Dunkin Donuts flavored lattes give me the energy that I need but do not make me feel sick. I’ve found the coffee that works for me because I can’t imagine not drinking it!”
In fact, many college students revel in the variety of coffees offered to them for the sheer fact that they can choose just how strong and potent their blend is.
“The stronger, the better,” said Egan. “That’s why I love Rook Coffee Roasters. They have awesome French Press coffee- the purest and richest form of coffee that wakes me up no matter what.”
College students also have the option to order the “light” version of their drinks. There are countless sugar substitutes and low-fat milks available to count down the overall caloric intake. Dunkin Donuts even announced they will now offer almond milk.
Whether you deem coffee healthy or unhealthy- it’s an undeniable part of the college culture. If you decide to order, take it easy on excessive add-ins for the healthiest option.
IMAGE TAKEN by Erica Bonavitacola