Many people often rely on the consumption of coffee in order to get them throughout the day. By drinking coffee, people believe it helps them to have a boost of energy. As a college student, I often see many people holding coffee cups around campus, Keurig machines in countless dorms, and people that wait in a Starbucks line for nearly twenty minutes before they can even tell the barista their order. Then I got to thinking, why do so many people rely on coffee? Maybe it’s a stress reliever and can actually be beneficial. My null hypothesis would be that coffee is an addiction whereas my alternate hypothesis would be that coffee is not an addiction. My next underlying question is, if people always drink coffee then can it become an addiction?
What are the ingredients of coffee?
According to Patrick Di Justo, coffee contains ten different ingredients: caffeine, water, 2-Ethylphenol, quinic acid, 3.5 dicaffeoylquinic acid, dimethyl disulfide, acetylmethylcarbinol, putrescine, trigonelline, and niacin. Out of all of these ingredients, it’s the chemical of caffeine that has the strongest effect on individuals. Di Justo states that caffeine stimulates our bodies by blocking neuro-receptors. When neuro-receptors are blocked for the sleep chemical adenosine, it results in people waking up. This is one of the main reasons as to why people choose to drink coffee; coffee helps to wake people up. However, according to a statistic Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian provided from the Federal Drug Administration, more than eighty percent of American adults consume caffeine on a regular basis. In addition, Stromberg states that daily consumption of caffeine can alter an individual’s brain chemical composition. As a result, headaches, fatigue, and nausea are symptoms that can ensue if one attempts to quit caffeine. These results are a good way to measure whether or not something may be addicting; if someone has withdrawals then there is a good chance that is has become an addiction. Although all coffee contains caffeine, some coffee brands have higher doses of caffeine than others. For example, a Starbucks cup of coffee has more than double the amount of caffeine that a McDonald’s cup of coffee will have. This reflects on the concern that people have in regards to coffee consumption. With each larger dose of caffeine, the more addicting coffee can potentially become.
This image demonstrates different types of coffee from different brands and how much caffeine is in each brand.
Experiment & Analysis
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University was done on the effects of coffee consumption. Afterwards, the study provided evidence that displayed a cup of coffee a day can lead to a caffeine addiction. This was a meta-analysis study because researchers analyzed a total of 57 experimental studies and nine surveys. The results demonstrated that people who did not have their normal caffeine dosage for the day experienced withdrawal symptoms of caffeine. All of these studies supported the null hypothesis. The symptoms people experienced ranged from fatigue to nausea and muscle pain. In order to combat these symptoms, researchers from this study recommended that people drink less coffee or opt to drink decaf coffee as an alternative.
Since the study design employed using a meta-analysis method, it was very effective. This is because in a meta-analysis study combines a wide range of information from many different research studies. That way, the results that were found did not come from just one source, but from many other sources that all confirmed identical findings. On most of the pop quizzes Andrew has presented to us in class, the concept of reverse causation often comes up. He explains reverse causation as when Y is affecting the X variable. Reverse causality does not apply in this study because you cannot get addicted to something you have never tried before so Y should not affect X. In this case based off of the consumption of coffee, those who did not have caffeine experiences withdrawals or those that experienced withdrawals felt the constant need for caffeine.
This image demonstrates how much coffee people consume globally.
Take Home Message:
I am an advocate for coffee and caffeine consumption. Personally, coffee has been able to get me through very long days and has helped me to have an extra boost of energy when I need it the most. However, I strongly believe that when people drink coffee they should consume a healthy and normal amount instead of consuming it multiple times a day. In my opinion, a healthy and normal amount of coffee would be a cup a day or two max if you needed an extra boost of energy later in the day. Anything more than that would be too much. I also think that if someone were to drink a small cup a day you could still get addicted. It’s like how all of the little things add up to become a really big issue. Being addicted to coffee isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just isn’t a healthy lifestyle to live. If I were to take this a step further, I would conduct a questionnaire for people of all ages with in-depth questions to find out more information about their personal habits and ties to caffeine.