The Black & White

Recently released study brings back debate over the health effects of coffee

Graphic by Selina Ding.

Graphic by Selina Ding.

Graphic by Selina Ding.

By Matthew Proestel

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Droopy eyes and sleepy faces fill classrooms as students trudge through the doorway and slide into their seats. Struggling to keep up with an onslaught of assignments, projects and tests, many adolescents choose to replace a full night’s sleep with coffee, hoping the caffeine will help them make it through the day without dozing off.

A recent University of Colorado Medical School study shared by the American Heart Association revealed that coffee may actually have health benefits. The study found that every cup of coffee consumed per day decreases the chances of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease. Drinking over six cups per day, though, may compromise these positive effects.

Many students say they drink coffee regularly to be productive throughout the day.

“I started drinking coffee on a regular basis in 9th grade since I had to get up earlier and was functioning on fewer hours of sleep,” junior Joey Gabrielle said. “I drink about one thermos of coffee a day.”

Local pediatrician Lisa Laborwit believes coffee can have the health benefits the study mentioned but argues that the addictive nature of the beverage can be dangerous, particularly for students.  

“I agree that dark roast coffee has a large health benefit due to its tremendous antioxidant properties,” Laborwit said. “However, caffeine is incredibly addictive, which leads drinkers to constantly crave the energy rush and suffer from headaches without the constant fix.”

Caffeinated coffee can impair hearing loss recovery and cause high blood pressure, insomnia, indigestion and headaches, Dr. Ted Kallmyer reported on behalf of Caffeine Informer.

Regardless of the mixed consensus in the scientific community, many students still drink coffee in an effort to stay focused throughout the day when a full night’s sleep isn’t an option.  

“Sometimes I drink a cup of coffee when I don’t get enough sleep because I have too much work to do and I need coffee to keep myself awake and focused throughout the day,” junior Daniel Harris said. “But, I try to get enough sleep so that I don’t need coffee because it’s not a sufficient replacement for sleep. However, I think after learning about the study i’ll be less hesitant to drink coffee.”

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