Why You Should Break Up with Coffee

Crystal Sexton Poates, Staff Reporter

Whenever I see fellow students rushing to class clutching an energy drink, I wonder, “Why?” Or, whenever they are gulping one as if their lives depend on it, “Is it necessary? I am skeptical.  

We live in a world of urgency. Life is brought to us by convenience. We survive with instant communication through smartphones, immediate updates via social media, and a quick fix provided by caffeine. 

There are plenty of sugary caffeinated drinks to choose from, but what are college students choosing? I see you next to me in class. I see you walking and talking on campus. I see you on the way to the gym. By all accounts, I see you with a cup of sugar and cold caffeination in hand. Many of you walk into class chugging down a can of Celsius or a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino. 

Research shows that 92% of college students consume caffeine daily. For most students it is a part of our normal routine. The two forms of caffeine I typically see on campus are coffee and energy drinks.  

This traditional age demographic of 18 to 24 years old is also a prime target for caffeinated product companies. They use bright colors on their packaging and wild flavors to appeal to young adults. According to Monster, they primarily target teens, extreme athletes, and gamers. The ads online and at brick-and-mortar stores promise a boost of energy, a spark of mental awareness, and a jolt of physical performance. Why wouldn’t companies set their sights on people who wake up early for class, stay up late to study, gather in coffee shops to socialize, and snap photos of their drink for their Instagram? 

Coffee shops are commonplace on campuses and popular for socializing. Off campus, coffee shops are even more plentiful (35,616 just in the U.S.) and often offer app ordering and drive-thru convenience. Despite the cost of a cup of convenience, Americans spend approximately $100 a month on coffee alone.  

My experience with caffeine is limited to sweet tea. I am not a coffee nor an energy drink consumer or advocate. Unfortunately, I used to drink diet soda and I sweetened my tea with artificial sugars. Once I learned more about artificial sugar and its dangers, I have been drinking my tea with natural sugar. It may have less artificial sugar dangers; however, it comes with a price too, and that expense is more calories. Like most who suffer from addiction, I too feel like I cannot go a day without tea. 

Regardless of the reason to consume, the benefit may be a temporary fix while creating a long-lasting addiction. A cup of iced coffee might offer enough stimulation to get through that 8 a.m. class, but how will you feel by lunch? That Red Bull might give you the boost you need to complete your workout or aid in a hangover, but could it also fuel your insomnia and raise your anxiety? Ask yourself, how do you feel when you do not have caffeine? Does your energy eventually tank, and headaches set in? The high from coffee and energy drinks will eventually dissipate, leaving irritability, tiredness, and the inability to concentrate, also known as a caffeine crash. 

College students are known for inconsistent sleep schedules and often complain of not being able to afford healthy meals—only to scratch up cash for a regular dose of caffeine. On top of cutting the expense, it’s worth considering kicking the caffeine habit earlier in life than later. Take it from me, caffeine addiction is harmful when it becomes excessive, affects your body, mind and daily routine. If it becomes a necessity to get you through the day, odds are it is time to quit. The best start to kicking the habit is consuming less with each day until you finally are able to break up for good. Take my advice: catch up with your caffeine intake before it catches up with you.