The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Caffeine sneaking into lifestyle

By Susan Tallant/editor-in-chief

Get your calculators out. March is National Caffeine Awareness Month, and it’s time for a check-up.
Let’s see, two must-have cups of java pre-dawn plus one to get me through rush hour equals about 330 mg caffeine.

Yikes! Not a good start for my calculation considering safe levels should average between 200-300 mg per day.

One Diet Coke® with lunch contributes 45 mg. A Red Bull® before math lab and a maximum strength Excedrin® afterward gives an additional boost of 210 mg.

My healthy afternoon reward of dark chocolate weighs in at a not so healthy rate of 20 mg. Iced tea with dinner and coffee flavored fat-free frozen yogurt tops my levels off with 65 mg of caffeine.

What? 670 mg can’t be right. I don’t feel like an addict.

The Caffeine Awareness Alliance reveals that I could be addicted to caffeine. Its Web site, www.caffeineawareness.org, reveals information about the dangers of high caffeine consumption and offers solutions.

Bad news first. Consuming caffeine in high portions can lead to high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, birth defects, headaches, thyroid disease, miscarriages, infertility, ulcers, heartburn and osteoporosis.

There’s hope. The Web site offers several tips to get you through the day without the toxic substance. A few of my favorites include switching to healthier options including herbal teas and smoothies made with fresh fruit. 

Try Swiss water processed decaf coffee, which gets rid of the caffeine while retaining most of the flavor and smell. Replace sodas with the caffeine-free versions, but be careful because Mountain Dew®, Big Red® and some brands of root beer contain caffeine.

Another reason to skip the coffee shop on the way to school is money. By putting the $4 a day normally spent on fancy coffees into savings, an addict can go on a nice vacation on their one-year anniversary.

My new plan: two cups of regular coffee in the morning (I don’t do unleaded at 6 a.m.), caffeine-free Diet Coke® with lunch, decaf herbal tea in the afternoon, perhaps some dark chocolate (I am a chocoholic), water with dinner and strawberry ice-cream for desert leaves me with a healthier toxin level of 240 mg.

See? You don’t have to wake up and smell the decaf.

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