The Health Risks of Coffee

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The Health Risks of Coffee

Most people I know need coffee the second they open their eyes – they cannot possibly function without their 8 oz cup of caffeine. Almost every student needs a cup or two of Joe at 1 o’clock in the morning to pull an all-nighter. And some people just enjoy the taste of it.

Coffee contains disease-fighting antioxidants and it may improve moods, reduce cavities and stop headaches. Further research has shown that coffee can reduce the risks of many diseases such as colon cancer, type 2 Diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

But don’t get too excited! There may be health benefits that make coffee sound enticing, but you can’t forget about the biggest risk of coffee: CAFFEINE.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant, which may causes jitteriness, sleeplessness, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, heart palpitations, and irritability. The drug can also lead to bigger issues such as osteoporosis or high blood pressure. If you find yourself being bothered by any of these symptoms, you may want to cut back on your caffeine intake, especially if it nears 500-600 mg.

Everyone has his or her own threshold for caffeine. For some people, one cup of coffee at anytime of day will cause a restless sleep. Where as some people can have two shots of espresso right before bed and sleep like a baby. We can find caffeine in several other places, not just coffee: soda, energy drinks, chocolate, tea and some medicine. So, if you are like me, and have zero tolerance for caffeine – be wary of consuming any of these items if you plan on getting a good night’s sleep.

Here is a list of the caffeine content in some of our favorite drinks and desserts:


Generic brewed 8oz cup of coffee: 95-200 mg

Generic brewed 8oz decaf cup of coffee: 2-12 mg

Starbucks Espresso, 1oz: 58-75 mg

Starbucks Vanilla Latte, 16oz: 150 mg


Black tea, 8oz: 40-120 mg

Starbucks Chai Tea Latte, 16oz: 100 mg

Arizona Iced Tea, 16 oz: 27 mg

Snapple Plain Unsweetened, 16 oz: 18 mg


Coke, 12 oz: 35 mg

Diet Coke, 12 oz: 47 mg

7Up, regular or diet, 12 oz: 0mg

Mountain Dew, regular or diet, 12 oz: 54 mg

Pepsi, regular or diet, 12 oz: 36-38 mg

Energy Drinks

Monster Energy drink, 16 oz: 160 mg

Red Bull, 8.3 oz: 76 mg

Rockstar, 8 oz: 80 mg

Chocolate and Ice Cream

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar, 1.45 oz: 31 mg

Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Health Bar Crunch, 8 oz: 84 mg

Haagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream, 8 oz: 58 mg


Anacin, Maximum Strength, 2 tablets: 64 mg

Excedrin, Extra Strength, 2 tablets: 130 mg

By Danielle Greenberg

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