Buzz about caffeine: Are the risks worth it?

By NICOLE HURBAN

 

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Each morning thousands of Americans consume a caffeinated beverage or eat a caffeinated food so they can start the day awake and lively. Even though these drinks and foods aid us in our day-to-day activities, what risk are we taking with our health every time we ingest caffeine? 

There are several types of drinks that can be consumed to produce the feeling of being energized, in the human body. There are regular brewed coffees, specialty coffees [espresso, frappuchinos, etc.], energy drinks, various teas, sodas and even chocolate. 

All of these drinks and foods include moderate to high levels of caffeine and sugar which give our bodies an awakened feeling. 

Caffeine is in fact a drug that can range from high levels to very low levels. Caffeine content can range from as much as 200- plus milligrams in some energy drinks, to as little as 4 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving of chocolate-flavored syrup, according to WedMD.com. It is a central nervous system stimulant which has addictive qualities that can cause dependency. The growing popularity of coffee shops and energy drinks the percentage of individuals faced with that dependency will only increase. 

When it comes to choosing a drink the best way to go is either coffee or tea. The substances within the drink tend to be from a more natural source and cause less dependency and negative side effects. 

On the other hand, there are energy drinks and soda that can be purchased. There are dozens of drinks that can be chosen from that can accommodate any taste buds. The energy drinks and sodas, unlike coffees and teas, contain many manufactured chemicals that “supposedly” aid in the awakening process. For example, the popular energy drink Monster contains many vitamins that can aid your body, but also contains chemicals like Carotene which causes the arteries of the human body to harden. The large amount of caffeine can elevate heart rate and cause dizziness and confusion in some individuals. 

Caffeinated beverages and foods can be a great source of energy when it is needed. Unfortunately the side effects of these drinks can do more harm than good in most cases. 

Regulating the amount of caffeine that is ingested each day, in any form, can benefit a healthy lifestyle and prevent abuse and consumption of chemicals and substances that you were not aware of previously. Always read food labels to ensure you know exactly what you are consuming. Please use responsibly. 

 
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