Loose ends are starting to be tied and final projects assigned — it’s reaching the busiest part of the semester. Late nights studying or finishing a paper are becoming the norm, and you may find it’s getting harder and harder to greet the day without smacking that blessed snooze button more than a few times.
But never fear — our dear friend Mr. Energy Drink is here with open arms to make the transition from comfy bed to uncomfortable lecture hall seat a little bit easier.
No worries; we all do it. It’s the norm to down a can of liquid electricity to get us through a particularly long day or even just to function on a day-to-day basis.
But this is where the danger comes in. It’s the ultimate first-world problem — a headache from a caffeine withdrawal.
Unfortunately, this is a serious issue.
According to an article by TIME Magazine, energy drinks are classified as “dietary supplements,” so they are not regulated by the FDA. Because they are not regulated, they don’t have to follow the same limits as soda companies with regard to their caffeine content. As a result some energy drinks contain almost three times the amount of caffeine as a regular can of soda.
Enter your typical college student, stressed out with big enough bags under their eyes to carry the pile of overpriced textbooks that are only opened about this time of year. Many of us live between cups of coffee, bottles of Coke and, of course, energy drinks in brightly colored cans. All of the above decorate our desks in lectures and are stuffed in our bags between late assignments and study guides.
This dependence on caffeine to get through the day, while it may seem like a godsend now, may be our future downfall.
According to the TIME article, the American Association of Poison Control Centers have looked into problems arising from caffeine overdoses. They found that over a long period of time, too much caffeine consumption can lead to changes in blood flow and reduces insulin sensitivity, which affects your body’s ability to regulate the sugars found in food. This can lead to diabetes.
German health officials have been exploring the effects of energy drinks and too much caffeine consumption, according to TIME. This includes liver damage, a racing heart rate, respiratory disorders and even the potential for death.
The Mayo Clinic, a website in which clinical experts give advice and news on health topics, also added nervousness, irritability, insomnia and elevated blood pressure to this list in a recent article.
The article also stated that the desired energy boost is short-lived, resulting in that inevitable crash that we’re all too familiar with.
While energy drinks may be delightful, tasty and temporarily effective, the long-term effects and potential addiction associated with almost daily consumption of our dear elixir of choice may not be worth the spurt of energy.
I suggest, instead, reaching for some good, solid food instead of a colorful can. A piece of fruit or slice of toast will boost your blood sugar to keep you awake and functional for longer, giving you plenty of time to bust out that five-page essay at three in the morning.
Be excellent to yourselves and each other, Cougs!