The Good and Bad Buzz on Caffeine

There's a huge buzz surrounding coffee - teens are choosing a cup of joe over a bowl of cereal in the morning and celebs like Mary-Kate Olsen are rarely seen without a Starbucks in hand. But before you get into the coffee craze, you should know what you're doing to your body every time you take a caffeinated sip.

Caffeine - The Good Stuff

Just thinking about a steaming cup of americano or a caramel macchiato makes your mouth water - they look great, smell great, and best of all, they taste great. Like milk, coffee does a body good - as long as it's in small doses. Since coffee contains caffeine, which raises your blood sugar, it can enhance your mood, increase your energy and keep you awake so you can finish your homework.

Caffeine - The Bad Stuff

However, caffeine is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system, causing rapid heartbeat. Like other drugs, caffeine is addictive, which is probably why you hear phrases such as "java junkie" or "caffeine buzz." Peeps who suddenly stop drinking coffee can suffer withdrawal symptoms, including severe headaches, muscle aches, anxiety and irritability. Many people try to replace meals with caffeinated beverages because according to some, caffeine speeds up your metabolism and suppresses your appetite - but that can lead to some serious health problems, like [kwlink]eating disorders[/kwlink]!

Aside from the addiction factor, drinking coffee at an early age can be bad news. It makes you wired and unable to sleep, which is a huge problem for today's sleep-deprived teens. As well, it can stunt your growth because you lose large amounts of calcium in your urine (caffeine dehydrates your system because it makes you pee frequently). And on a beauty note, it affects your smile - coffee contains tannic acid (the stuff that makes the dark color), which can stain your teeth a nasty dark brown. So, if you want to keep your pearly whites, it would be wise to cut back on your coffee intake.

Caffeine - The Solutions

We understand it's hard to kick the caffeine habit because no one wants to pass up a frothy frappuccino! So the key to coffee is to drink it in moderation. Cut back on your daily cups of coffee, choose decaf and add skim or 2% milk so you at least get some calcium in your diet. And when you're tired, just catch some ZZZ's instead of reaching for more caffeine.

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How Much Coffee Do You Drink?

  • 1-2 cups a day.
  • 3-4 cups a day.
  • More than five cups a day.
  • None - I hate the bitter taste of coffee.

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