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Let’s Talk Coffee: When Is It Really Too Much?

We’re all guilty of it. That third cup of coffee by 2 p.m. Let’s be real, college life is demanding and stressful. We all struggle to sleep at night and stay awake during the day. Luckily and unluckily, coffee has become the muse we all rely on to make it through the long days. Being on campus where there’s practically a coffee shop every few hundred feet tempts our need for the caffeinated goodness. 

But when is it really too much (on our health and bank accounts)?

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, adults can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day which is equivalent to four 8 ounce cups. This seems like a lot, but keep in mind a grande size coffee at Starbucks is 16 ounces. If you feel like you’re out of the woods because you consume under 32 ounces of coffee a day, not so fast. The recommended 400 milligrams a day also includes soda and energy drinks. 

If you still think you’re in the clear, don’t click away yet. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of sugar per day. According to the Starbucks website, the average grande size Pumpkin Spice Latte contains 50 grams of sugar, twice the recommended daily amount. Not to mention that Pumpkin Spice Latte is over $5.

So we’re all more than likely consuming too much caffeine or sugar throughout the day. What’s the big deal? According to the same article from the Mayo Clinic, consuming excessive amounts of caffeine throughout the day can cause “nervousness, fast heartbeat, insomnia [and] irritability” among other things. The article adds that “even one cup of coffee or tea— may prompt unwanted effects such as restlessness and sleep problems.” 

So now that we’re all aware that our coffee habits are probably causing some unwanted side effects (plus making our bank accounts cry), what do we do about it?  

  1. Make Coffee At Home 

One of the best ways to avoid all the added sugar in to-go coffee is to make it yourself and know exactly what is going into your drink. Retailers like Target offer Keurig, single-serve coffee makers that are under $100 and are dorm room friendly. The convenience of a single-serve coffee maker allows you to brew only the amount you actually need, helping you to keep your caffeine habit in check. Keurigs are also great for making tea, soups, oatmeal and hot chocolate! 

  1. Limit Yourself to Two Cups a Day

          A great way to make sure you aren’t over-consuming caffeine throughout the day is to limit yourself to two cups. Drinking one cup in the morning and another cup mid-morning helps to ensure that you have enough caffeine to get through the day and that you haven’t gone crazy. Just make sure that your two cups aren’t both 20 ounces! 

  1. Stop Drinking Coffee by Lunch Time

             Consuming caffeine in the morning can help to make sure you have enough energy to make it through the day, but the coffee that lingers until dinner time could be what is keeping you up at night. Try stopping your coffee consumption by lunchtime to ensure a well-rested night. 

Edited by Madison Greer

Cheyenne Oakes is a junior at West Virginia University, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies.
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