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You wake up in the morning feeling exhausted and incomplete. The familiar gurgling noise of a coffee maker wakes you up a little more. A sweet cup o’ brew is all the morning needs.
Adam Wright, a journalism graduate from STU, applauds the brew and loves the new Tim Hortons extra large sizes. He even made his own “Ode to the Tim Horton’s Extra Large Cup” to the tune of Adele’s, Set Fire to the Rain.
“Energy jolt to the brain, As the caffeine ran through my veins,” sings Wright.
When asked about the extra large coffee, he praises Tim Hortons’ choices.
“God bless those geniuses! I have one from time to time. Takes me six hours to finish, three piss-breaks,” said Wright.
The caffeine kick keeps students going. Gives us a boost of energy when there’s no time to stop. We become like an energizer bunny, except with more shakes and higher heart rate.
Ellen MacIntosh, dietician at UNB, says students should look at how much caffeine they have in their diet.
“Our body becomes desensitized and gets used to caffeine,” says MacIntosh. “After a while of drinking it on a regular basis, we need it to function on a regular level.”
Jeremy Fowler, a recent graduate of STU, has accepted that he needs coffee in his diet to function normally.
“If I don’t have coffee, I am slow at getting going in the morning and if I don’t have one by midday, I will start having a pounding headache and if I don’t have one at all during the day, I’ll be sick by the night,” says Fowler.
MacIntosh says students need to ask questions about the amount of caffeine in their diet.
“The question is… how is it working for you? Is it upsetting your stomach? Do you find your heart rate is racing? Are you shaky or jittery? Do you have a problem with anxiety and does it make it worse?” says MacIntosh.
Hilary Ball, a third year student, tries to stick to one cup a day.
“Usually no more than one and sometimes I drink tea instead,” says Ball.
MacIntosh says that alternatives to caffeine can be beneficial for students during stressful times.
“Caffeine gives you all of the symptoms of stress. It can make the stress response even worse. If you’re nervous before a presentation or exam,” says MacIntosh.
“If a person feels like they’re constantly turning to coffee to keep them going, that’s a red flag. It’s a good opportunity to look at their life and say ‘hey what am I doing, am I drinking enough water? Am I getting in all four food groups?’ Dehydration is the biggest cause of fatigue. It is a mask for some other issue. We really shouldn’t need it.”
Health Canada suggests adults drink 400 milligrams of coffee a day, the equivalent to two large coffees from Tim Hortons. However, MacIntosh says it’s a different story for young adults.
“For older teens and younger adults there’s not a lot of studies for these things so what they say is 2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight,” says MacIntosh.
“A 60 kilogram male (125-130 pounds) then that’s 120 milligrams of caffeine. One medium coffee would put you over that. Or a can of pop is about 50 milligrams.”
MacIntosh says that students should try to look for alternatives to caffeine.
“Water, herbal teas, raw veggies and dip, something nutritious for you. Plain popcorn or fresh cut up fruit with yogurt.”
“You’re replacing something non-nutritious with something nutritious and it’s going to give you more vitamins and more minerals so your body can function at its very best.
Adam Wright always has a coffee on hand, but he only drinks one to three cups a day.
“Although I am known for my love of coffee, I usually just have one, or two, or three per day. But I’m a slow drinker. I enjoy it. Savor every drink. Hell, I don’t mind drinking it cold either,” says Wright.
MacIntosh understands that coffee is going to be part of a students life.
“It’s just a matter of being aware of what you’re drinking.”