There’s a lot of truth behind Dunkin Donuts slogan, “America runs on Dunkin”. Until four years ago, I would cringe at the thought of coffee, but as evolution does, it altered my taste buds to savor the taste. Not only do I enjoy a hot cup of coffee to start off my day, I have fallen into the same category as most Americans and need at least two to get through it. Slowly, we are transforming as a society that needs coffee to get through a day instead of it being an added bonus. So why is coffee so addicting? What does it do to the human body that makes people crave it so much?
Facts about Caffeine in Coffee:
Dunkin Donuts, Americas largest retailer of coffee-by-the-cup, sells 1.7 billion cups of iced or hot coffee per year. Since 77% of Americans drink coffee, it can be predicted that the $18 billion U.S industry of coffee will be on the rise. Most coffee drinkers don’t think about what’s in the drink that makes their world spin round. No surprise, caffeine in the first and only ingredient that most people think of. Caffeine shares the same ingredients of Alkaloid plan toxin that cocaine and nicotine, two very addictive substances, do. Alkaloid plant toxin is a killer of bugs that works by blocking the neuroreceptors from adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical in the human body the makes it feel sleepy. By taking away this feeling, the body feels more awake. The water is used to bring out the oils and taste in the beans. This is also a reason that new coffee drinkers have to use the bathroom more than usual, but eventually they will develop a tolerance to the water.
Caffeine is a mood-altering drug. It creates happiness, energy, and enjoyment for most who intake it. These positive moods are addictive but the symptoms after these moods are not. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, studies have shown by drinking more than 200mg of caffeine, it increases the rate to experience anxiety and panic attacks. Studies have also shown that drinking caffeine through out the day will interrupt sleep by decreasing the quality of sleep. This developed the question of does caffeine lead to insomnia? Researches have used caffeine as a challenge in their studies but have not found a concrete answer as to if it the two are correlated. Since caffeine is a drug, people can experience withdrawals from it. Multiple double-blind studies have been conducted to test if caffeine withdrawals cause impairment in a person. Meaning, are there any physical attributes that develop from not drinking a cup of coffee a day. People who drink a cup or more of coffee a day had to withstand from it for 24-hours. 50% of people experienced headaches, drowsiness, and irritability. This is not enough data to create a conclusion with.
M. Jackman and P. Wendling conducted an experiment to examine the effects of caffeine intake on the body when exercising. The examined muscle metabolism and endurance during small amounts of high endurance exercise. Of the 28 subjects, half were asked to take a placebo caffeine pill and then cycle for 2 minutes and rest for 6. This process was repeated two or three times. The subjects who got the real caffeine pill showed increase in endurance and concentration. They concluded that caffeine has a positive affect on endurance when exercising but has no correlation to muscle metabolism.
Although I have been targeting the caffeine in coffee, since it does have the highest amount, almost every drink has some sort of caffeine in it. Some drinks, for example 5-hour energy and red bull, are made solely to get energy. There are approximately 750 drinks that have caffeine in them. These drinks have a direct affect on the nervous system in the body. Unless a person only drinks green tea and water, a persons body will always receive some sort of caffeine. Don’t stop drinking coffee or any other drinks that contain caffeine, it does give many temporary benefits. But remember that caffeine is like any substance, if abused, it could damage many parts of the body.