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The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

Caffeine: just how bad can it be?

Unveiling hidden risks in daily energy consumption
Charlotte Baxter

The most common addiction is on the rise among young generations. Caffeine.

As of late, an increase in popularity amongst a variety of caffeinated drinks is causing teenagers and children to be exposed to the stimulant at a very young age.

Although a caffeine dependency is not considered a serious threat, deadly ingredients and targeted marketing is a recipe for early heart issues for adolescents.

On a daily occurrence, physical education and health teacher Deborah Condon notices her students bringing in and consuming large proportions of caffeinated beverages.

“We see students walk in all the time with CELSIUS and huge coffees… I feel like we’re concerned,” Condon said.

With the everyday occurrence of seeing young students drink large quantities of caffeine in the morning, it is Condon’s job to educate them about the unknown dangers of their favorite drinks, especially CELSIUS. The sneaky ingredients within energy drinks, including some that are banned outside of the U.S., can lead to detrimental health issues.

“Heart palpitations are a serious side effect [that] a lot of people don’t take seriously… especially in athletes,” Condon said. ”If people have to get drug tested, there’s an enzyme in them [CELSIUS] that is causing their drug tests to come back positive. So a lot of the colleges have to have banned them for their athletes.”

Now more than ever, these beverages can be found within a five-mile radius of any product of civilization. According to the analysis of Condon, the combination of a generational phone and caffeine addiction, convenient cafes are believed to be the perfect solution for a quick and easy pick-me-up.

“There’s a Starbucks on every corner, there’s places you can eat coffee, there’s all sorts of little small places that they can get really nice expensive coffee and it tastes good. I think that’s number one, accessibility,” Condon said. “Number two, also a lack of sleep. I think that having phones and people are staying up later at night being on social media and just scrolling, you don’t go to bed.”

For senior Katelyn Irizarry, caffeine is an essential part of her day as she spends her time outside of school working as a barista at her local Starbucks. While working there, Irizarry takes notice of consumption patterns among customers as well as herself.

“I see so many customers more than once a day, which is problematic in itself. And also myself, I’ve drank coffee since I was in middle school, which probably shouldn’t but now that I work there, even if I don’t feel like I need it, I’m drinking something with caffeine and every single shift because it’s there and it’s free,” Irizarry said.

Balancing a sport on top of school and job, it is not out of the ordinary to see senior athlete Payton Covode with caffeine to help her stay energized throughout the day. When i t comes to important games and tournaments, Covode utilizes a variety of versions of caffeine t o enhance her performances.

“Sometimes, before we had big games and stuff I would drink a coffee in the morning and then a Red Bull right before the game on the bus… Red Bull before games, it sometimes helps me focus. I don’t really know how to explain it [but it] gets me locked in,” Covode said.

Although Covode falls victim to a caffeine dependency, she notices that students as young as 12 are now becoming reliant on energy drinks due to the effects of social media marketing and trends.

“My sister goes to Cario and she’s 12and she says all of her friends drink like the CELSIUSes and stuff and I’m like, that’s crazy to me. I feel like whenever people start trends now with social media, it gets enhanced in the younger ages,” Covode said.

In response to the observation of social media trends influencing the younger generation, Irizarry believes that popular cafes such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts purposefully create aestheticallyappealing beverages to gain the business ofadolescents.

“I think it’s just so normalized andit’s targeted towards young people. Like a40-year-old woman isn’t going to reach for a can that says strawberry lemonade flavored energy drink,” Irizarry said, “People have grown up around Starbucks and Dunkin’ but it was an Instagram thing. So people want to fit in, so they drink it too. And even peoplewho don’t like coffee, will drink coffee.”

Irizarry says that most consumers are misled by the nutrition within energizing drinks as they fail to recognize exactly how much caffeine they are consuming.

“People would drink a coffee and an energy drink and that’s just so much caffeine all at once. It’s very dangerous. And people are like, ‘Oh, but it’s just a little Starbucks coffee, it’s not going to hurt me’. I don’t think people realize, a venti iced brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso has like four shots, each of which has 85 milligrams of caffeine,” Irizarry said.

To regularly drink caffeinated drinks throughout the day, Condon enforces to her students that it is important to regulate it through plenty of water in return.

“You’re replenishing with water is key, making sure just getting a lot of fluids, because people do use it in the correct way. Just make sure they’re getting enough water to replenish that,” Condon said.

No matter the age, the main concern of caffeine dependency falls onto the rise of popular energy drinks such as CELSIUS or Monster as they have large amounts of caffeine within their smaller-proportioned products.

“I just always tell my students to stay away from the energy drinks. There’s such a high concentration in a little bottle. [I’d prefer] black coffee or something like that rather than like the syrups with a bunch of sugar and then the extra espresso shots with a huge amount of caffeine. As long as people are being safe with it and really limiting what they drink,” Condon said.

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