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In an increasingly caffeine–dependent society, one in which 64% of American adults consume at least one cup of coffee a day — amounting to an average of about 400 million cups of coffee consumed everyday by Americans alone — it’s critical to discuss the cons of drinking coffee.

First off, yes, there are numerous pros to drinking coffee. Studies have linked coffee consumption (in moderation) to reducing the likelihood of everything from brain disease to depression to heart disease. Other popular pros include positive links between coffee consumption and focus, which is the reason most of us drink it.

But the key term to focus on here is IN MODERATION. For example, some studies have also illustrated a link between coffee over–consumption and irritability or anxiety. Similar studies have also shown that too much coffee can cause insomnia and restlessness. Additionally, in extreme cases, overconsumption of coffee may also cause dehydration and extreme dizziness.

Now, the question is what’s considered overconsumption of coffee and what’s a happy medium? The difficulty in answering is that it varies from person to person based on a multitude of factors, including body weight, amount of food consumed, gender, and caffeine tolerance, just to name a few. However, moderate consumption is generally capped at four cups of coffee or 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.

So, you’re probably thinking…as long as I don’t go over 4 cups a day, I’m totally safe, right? Sadly, the answer here is “no.” While most of the negative effects of coffee arise because people drink too much, there are certain cons to drinking any amount. One notable negative effect is the development of caffeine tolerance: if you caffeinate yourself daily, you’ll likely develop a tolerance and need a regular fix just to reach your baseline level of alertness. On top of that, consistent caffeine consumption will leave you more sensitive to the effects of caffeine addiction — if you don’t have your daily cup, you’ll likely develop withdrawal symptoms that may include extreme fatigue and splitting headaches. Another con that comes from drinking coffee is that it ultimately impacts your sleep cycle in some way, shape, or form — often negatively. 

Interestingly, some of the “pros” of coffee may actually be “cons” too. For example, coffee is often viewed in a positive light by those seeking to lose weight, as it’s a known appetite suppressant and helps boost metabolism. However, researchers have found that coffee can actually cause weight gain since caffeine can lead to sugar–craving as a result of wild fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

To put things in perspective, however, everything we consume has its share of pros and cons. Whether it be a cup of coffee, a fresh apple, or a slice of cake, nothing is healthy in excess. So, if you’re craving a warm cup of coffee to start your day or an iced latte after a jog, there’s nothing wrong with drinking it, just as long as you remember to do so in moderation.

Cheryl Chang

U Penn '24

Cheryl is an adjective. It describes someone whose always bubbly and nice, cheerful and optimistic. Additionally, Cheryl characterizes someone who is a dreamer and a believer. In fact, Cheryl lives by the motto "Anything is possible as long as you believe" by Peter Pan (i think).
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