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The Truth About Caffeine Essay

592 words - 3 pages

The Truth About Caffeine

How many of you consider yourself caffeine addicts? How much coffee do you drink in a day? One cup? Two cups? More? How about caffeinated sodas? Caffeine is pervasive in our society these days and every few months we hear about how a study has shown that it is bad for us or good for us. What are we to believe? Today, I'd like to give you some of the facts about caffeine and its effects on your body. I may not cause you to change your coffee consumption, but at least you'll be better informed about what you are putting into your body. We are going to learn about the beneficial effects of caffeine, the negative effects and discuss what are considered to be 'safe' levels of caffeine consumption.

First with the good news. Caffeine, which comes from the leaves, seeds and fruits of about 63 different ...view middle of the document...

The negative effects of caffeine are largely dependent on how much you consume.

When consumed in small quantities - for example, when you have one cup of coffee or one soda - caffeine can increase your heart rate, cause you to urinate more (which can cause dehydration) and prompt your digestive system to produce more acid.

In larger amounts, caffeine can cause you to have headaches, feel restless and nervous, be unable to sleep, and even - in very large quantities - to have hallucinations. (Don't try that at home!)

When larger amounts of caffeine (over 600 mg per day) are ingested over long periods of time, they can cause sleep problems, depression and digestion issues.

According to a Medline article on the National Institutes of Health website, having caffeine in your diet is not of any benefit to your health, but by the same token moderate consumption is not considered harmful.

They say that having up to 3 eight ounce cups of coffee a day - or 250 mg of caffeine - is considered (quote) "average or moderate". 10 cups of coffee a day is considered excessive. Also, remember that the amount of caffeine per cup can vary greatly depending on the type of beans that are used and the strength of the brew.

Most sodas with caffeine, unless they are specially enhanced, have about 35 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces. This means that you don't have to worry TOO much unless you are drinking several 2 liter bottles per day. Also, the effect of caffeine on you personally will depend on a number of factors, such as your weight, general health, mood and personal sensitivity to caffeine.

As you can see, caffeine can have both positive and negative effects on our health and well-being. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that if you drink your coffee or sodas in moderation, you don't have to worry too much.

So, the next time you are wondering whether or not you should have that second cup of coffee to perk you up, relax. At least now you know what it will - and won't - do for you!

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