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Too much caffeine: dangerous?

By | December 05, 2013 | Arts & Entertainment
Photo by Cary Edmondson Baristas busy at work in the Henry Madden Library's Starbucks. Ricky Serrano, the dining services manager at the shop, said its busiest time is 9 a.m. to noon or 2 p.m.

Photo by Cary Edmondson
Baristas busy at work in the Henry Madden Library’s Starbucks. Ricky Serrano, the dining services manager at the shop, said its busiest time is 9 a.m. to noon or 2 p.m.

With finals coming up, some Fresno State students are consuming more caffeine than usual. New studies show that large amounts of caffeine may put your health at risk. Drinking caffeine through coffee, energy drinks, sodas and teas, can help you stay alert and awake while studying but through recent studies, too much caffeine can become a problem.

Last year, a wrongful-death lawsuit was filed after a 14-year-old girl died after drinking two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks in a single day. The coroner’s reported that caffeine toxicity was a factor in her death. The girl ultimately died from cardiac arrhythmia, which is a change in heartbeat.

“The Journal of Caffeine Research” says that a caffeine overdoes requires roughly 10 grams of caffeine and in a study done by Brown University, the average American consumes about 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams a day.

Ricky Serrano, manager of dining services at Starbucks in the Henry Madden Library, says they recently had one of the busiest days he has seen in his five years of working. He said faculty and staff were waiting at the doors before they were even open yesterday.

Serrano said the combination of the colder weather and finals week coming up makes the usual high traffic even worse.

“Our busiest time of the day, normally, is about nine o’clock in the morning and usually carries on through lunch time until about two o’clock in the afternoon,” Serrano said. “Today, we’ve been consistently busy since before we technically opened at 7:45 a.m.

“We opened up earlier because of the crowd that we had this morning, and we’ve had a line out the door ever since.”

Serrano said they do have usual customers that come in throughout the day but believes their caffeine consumption isn’t something to be concerned about.

“We do have quite a bit of customers that come in quite a bit, maybe two to three times a day, five days a week,” Serrano explains. “They have coffee, tea, caffeinated tea, sometimes we’re even their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“When it comes to caffeine, I think anything that can be done in moderation could be considered healthy.

“If we notice that they are coming in every hour and getting a venti coffee, then yeah, we might mention something, but we haven’t seen someone yet who is suffering from being overly caffeinated or going through withdrawals or anything like that.”

Sociology students Tetyana Sokolovska and Sara Andrews said they try to limit themselves when it comes to their caffeine consumption.

“I love coffee but I also like to limit myself, because I felt that at one point it was negatively influencing my health so I try to limit myself to one or two cups a day,” Sokolovska said. “Recently I would drink maybe five to six cups of coffee a day, at home, at school, then back at home again and at work so I decided to cut down.”

“I typically drink coffee and I try to limit myself to one a day. I know it’s really unhealthy for you, so I try and substitute it with water,” explained Andrews.

Sandy Martinez said she drinks caffeine for another reason.

“I drink caffeine because I’m addicted to it,” Martinez said. “I am currently in the process of gradually taking myself off of it.”

“I went from two liters [of soda] a day to limiting myself to just one large McDonald’s cup.

“I won’t drink the whole thing; I think it’s more of a crutch. If I don’t get enough caffeine I’ll wake up and have headaches, nausea and be grumpy.”

Student Laura Fees believes that there’s nothing wrong with drinking your caffeine and doesn’t limit herself in any way.

“I don’t limit myself at all; I don’t see anything wrong with caffeine consumption,” Fees said. “It keeps me awake while I’m driving and helps me study.

“I feel college students use caffeine to supplement themselves; if I don’t sleep then I compensate my lack of sleep with an equal amount of caffeine.”

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