Solution Proposal Belinda Corniea
  • I found this part of my paper to be particularly interesting: In my paper I wrote about how decaf coffee isn't actually better for you. I didn't know that before this proposal paper.
  • This part was surprisingly difficult: I thought finding all the possible solutions to my problem was a little difficult.
  • Next time I would do this differently: Next time I would spend more time researching for other possible solutions.

Caffeine - The truth behind it all.

Caffeine is a big part of our daily lives. It is now in a lot of the food and drinks that we consume, it’s in some of the pills that we take, and even in some ointments/creams that we use. There are a lot of reasons why people consume or use caffeine. The most common reason why people use caffeine is to feel alert and awake. Many people rely on caffeine to get them through the day. For years people have been debating whether or not caffeine is healthy for the human body. Countless studies have been conducted to find the truth about caffeine and its effects on the human body. Many studies have shown that caffeine does have some benefits when you drink it; however, many studies have shown the exact opposite. Should we or shouldn't we be consuming caffeine? Several of the problems with caffeine revolve around people’s misunderstanding of caffeine and its effects on the body. To fix people's misunderstanding of caffeine I believe we need to create a Caffeine Aware program. This program will help people understand more about caffeine and what they are really consuming. The Caffeine Aware program could stop people from consuming large amounts of caffeine which is harming their mind and body.

There are two problems with society's attitude toward drinking caffeine. The first problem is that people are so uninformed about caffeine. People don’t know what it is that they are really consuming when they drink caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring, flavorless chemical that is found in many plants. Some of these plants include tea leaves, cocoa nuts and coffee beans. It is found in a wide range of food products including tea, cola, chocolate and coffee. Caffeine is artificially added to many other products such as pop, candy, and energy drinks. Caffeine is also found in many pain relievers, over-the-counter diet pills and in cold medicines (Villanova University Student Life). Caffeine is a huge part of our daily lives and it is literally everywhere. Many people are unaware that they are consuming caffeine because not a lot of people actually take the time to read the food labels. The reason why people consume caffeine in such high amounts is because they are misinformed about caffeine. If people knew what caffeine really is and how it affects the human body many people would find a substitute and/or stop drinking so much caffeine all the time.

People are so uninformed of what caffeine really is that many people are unaware that caffeine is actually a drug. Caffeine is a drug because it’s a substance that, when consumed, alters the body’s function psychologically and physically. Caffeine is one of the most popular drugs that people consume on a daily basis. The average daily consumption of caffeine is estimated to be 70 mg per person. 54 percent of the caffeine that is consumed is from coffee, 43 percent is from tea and is 3 percent from other forms (energy drinks, etc.)(Drug Aware, Caffeine the Facts). Caffeine is a stimulant drug and a psychoactive drug. It is a psychoactive drug because it alters thinking, behavior and mood. Caffeine is also a stimulant drug because it affects the central nervous system (CNS), the center that controls blood pressure, muscles and heart rate. It is known to raise blood pressure, increase urine flow, body temperature and sugar levels. Caffeine affects the human body and mind in many different ways. Too much caffeine and these side effects could possibly do some damage to internal organs and maybe even to the mind. There are many other side effects caffeine has on the human body and mind. These other side effects that people may experience when caffeine is consumed are: muscle tremors, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and blurred vision (University Health Service). Even though caffeine effects are weaker, it operates using the same brain pathways as heroin, cocaine and amphetamines (Villanova University Student Life). Caffeine affects each person differently. People who don’t drink a lot of caffeine or drink it on a daily basis tend to be more sensitive to its negative effects. Studies have found that men tend to be more susceptible to caffeine’s negative effects than women. How caffeine will affect a person all depends on their weight, gender, diet, type of exercise they do and the amount of caffeine they consume regularly (Mayo Clinic). Caffeine affects everyone differently because no two people are 100 percent alike. Someone who is male and more on the heavy side will have some very different side effects to caffeine than a woman who is skinny and petite.

Caffeine is a stimulant and because of that it is actually possible for people to be addicted to it. People who are regular, heavy caffeine drinkers usually develop a tolerance for it along with becoming dependent. Being addicted to caffeine isn't the worst thing in the world; however, people who are addicted will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking it cold turkey. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include: severe headaches, flu-like symptoms, tiredness or fatigue, poor concentration and irritability. These withdrawal symptoms usually begin 12 to 24 hours after the last dose of caffeine and may last up to a week (Drug Aware). A lot of people don't know that they are addicted to caffeine because of their misunderstanding of caffeine and its effect on the body.

The second problem with the consumption of caffeine is that caffeine is bad for the human body. Caffeine has many negative effects to the human body when consumed at a high amount. Not only does caffeine have negative effects on the whole human body but it has the most negative effects on the human mind. Instead of just doctors studying and analyzing the effects caffeine has on the human body, psychologists have focused more attention on the effects as well. A study was conducted by a man named Greden who used a population of college students to see if caffeine had any effect on the human mind. Greden found that the students who drank caffeine in a moderate or high amount showed more depression and anxiety and poorer work performance than those who didn't consume caffeine (Lubit & Russett 91). Other studies have been conducted that showed the same results but discovered that caffeine consumption can also cause anxiety about grade point average, muscle tension and stress in students (Troyer & Markle 407). College is the time when most young adults start drinking caffeine and where the addiction starts. Many college students use caffeine to help them stay up all night to finish homework or in the mornings to help them wake up when they have had a long night. A lot of them rely on caffeine to get them through college.

Psychiatrists have also connected caffeine consumption to mental disorders. Some of those mental disorders that have been tied to caffeine consumption are: people with anxiety, schizophrenia, psychosis and sleeping disorders. People with these types of mental illnesses can’t be drinking too many caffeinated beverages because the caffeine really affects their daily lives. They have to be monitored closely and watch how much caffeine they are consuming each day. A study was done that discovered that hospitalized psychiatric patients who consumed either moderate or high amount of caffeine had poorer physical health and were more depressed and anxious. These people had to stay in the hospital longer than those who didn't consume caffeine (Troyer and Markle 408). Caffeine affects everyone differently but it affects people with mental illnesses a lot more than people without because it can prolong or even worsen the condition they were originally diagnosed with.

Not only does caffeine have negative effects on the mind but it has negative effects on organs as well. A study was done at Harvard that resulted in finding a strong connection between caffeine consumption and cancer of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most fatal form of cancer. The study had discovered that two cups of coffee a day increased the risk factor of getting pancreatic cancer by a factor of 1.8 percent and three or more cups of coffee a day increased the factor by 2.7 percent (Troyer and Markle 407). Research has discovered that not only does caffeine raise the risk of pancreatic cancer but it also raises the risk of developing osteoporosis. A study was done with women at the ages of 65 to 77 to find out if drinking caffeine really does raise the risk of osteoporosis. The study found that women at these ages who drank more than 300 milligrams of caffeine daily showed a greater bone loss over a three-year period than those who drank less (Collins). Caffeine raises the risk of osteoporosis because it takes calcium out of the bones. In other words, when caffeine is consumed, calcium also needs to be consumed. Calcium is needed to make the bones grow big and strong. Without calcium the bones will become weak and brittle. It is important to remember to drink lots of calcium everyday especially when caffeine is consumed.

Despite of all the studies that show us that caffeine is bad for the human body, people still drink it. These people believe that the health benefits of caffeine outweigh all the negatives effects it has. That’s right; there are some studies that show us that caffeine does have some benefits to consuming it. People drink caffeine for multiple reasons. One of the main reasons why people consume caffeine is to improve their memory and to feel alert and awake. Caffeine helps a lot of people make it through the day. Another reason why people drink caffeine is because it helps protect against type two diabetes. A 20-year-long study was done, with more than 125,000 participants, by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Women’s Hospital. This study discovered that people who drink coffee regularly had significantly lowered the risk of getting type two diabetes, compared to the non-coffee drinking participants (Brown). Caffeine is not bad if it is consumed in low amounts; however, when consumed at high amounts it can have some nasty effects to the mind and body. Everything that is good in this world, is bad when done or consumed at high levels.

We need to educate people so they are aware that caffeine is really a drug and can have negative effects to the human mind and body when it is consumed in large quantities. Creating a Caffeine Aware Program can help get rid of people's misunderstanding of caffeine. One way this program will get people aware about caffeine is by having commercials on TV, the radio and before YouTube videos. People are watching TV and listening to music pretty much 24/7, so having commercials could help spread caffeine awareness across the nation. Another way this program can help educate people so they are aware is by getting popular celebrities to tweet about the negative effects that caffeine can have on the human body when it is consumed in high amounts. Twitter is a very popular social media site that captures attention from all age groups. Approximately 645,750,000 people have a twitter account (Statistic Brain). Many people who have a Twitter uses it daily and sometimes even hourly. Twitter is constantly getting checked and approximately 5,700 tweets are being tweeted every second (Krikorian) and on average about 58 million tweets per day (Statistic Brain). Having popular celebrities tweet about caffeine can help spread awareness because Twitter is always being used. Awareness would spread nationwide and maybe even across the globe. A third way the Caffeine Aware program can spread awareness is by teaching students about it in their nutrition section in health class. Caffeine addiction sometime even starts in high school because its easier for younger people to become addicted to something while their brain is still developing. Some high school students go to bed really late and then have to get up at 6 am to go to school. These students rely on caffeinated beverages and food to wake them up and make it through the long school day. In high school every student is required to take a health class so, teaching students about the harmful effects could help spread caffeine awareness across the nation. This can also prevent high school students from becoming addicted and relying so heavily on it now and in the future.

Going to bed early and getting the recommended amount of sleep we need each night is hard to do. Everyone seems to be too busy working or playing on their phones to get a good nights sleep. If people could take a breather from work and set down their phone at night, caffeine wouldn't be needed in the mornings to stay awake. This seems like a logical solution to not drinking caffeine right? The answer to the question is no. Going to bed early in this century is nearly impossible because people these days are way too stubborn to take a break from their work and phones. These stubborn people need energy in the morning and their go to is caffeine. Much to their surprise there are actually quite a few alternatives to drinking caffeine. Caffeine isn't the body's natural fuel but food is. A recent study that was conducted at Penn State College of Medicine found that an increase in carb intake resulted in all-day alertness. Many people confuse being thirsty with being sleepy. Hydration is the secret to helping the blood transport hormones and oxygen throughout the body for energy. Drinking lots of water and eating foods with water in them can help keep the body feeling energized. Some foods that have a lot of water in them are: watermelon, berries and cantaloupe. Oatmeal is another really good source for lots of energy. Not only does oatmeal absorb water when it cooks but it also keeps the body feeling energized hours after it is consumed (Fetters). Another alternative to caffeine is caffeine-free herbal teas. These caffeine-free herbal teas can still give you some energy that is needed to make it through the day and there are so many different type of flavors at the local grocery store (Cotterel). There will always be alternatives and other healthier options. Taking the time to research and figure out some alternatives might take some time but in the end it will all be worth it. Knowing what is in products that are consumed will make for a healthier body and life.

Some people really like the taste of coffee but don't need the caffeine. These people think that decaf coffee is better because it doesn't have the harmful drug that is caffeine. It turns out that decaf coffee isn't better for the human body after all. A recent study that was sponsored by the U.S National Institutes of Health showed that drinking decaf coffee caused a rise in harmful cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels often increase the chance of getting heart disease (Caffeine Awareness). Researchers say the decaffeinated coffee is often made from a type of bean that has a higher fat content. A study was done by a man named Robert Superko and some colleagues at the Piedmont-Mercer Center for Health and Learning in Atlanta, Georgia U.S. These researchers looked at the effects of coffee on 187 people and they split the group up into three similar-sized groups for a month study. One group drank three to six cups of caffeinated coffee per day, the second group drank three to six cups of decaffeinated coffee per day and the control group drank no coffee. The researchers analyzed blood samples from all three of the groups before and after the experiment. Robert and his colleagues discovered that the people who drank three to six cups of decaf coffee had experienced an 18 percent rise in NEFAs (Non-Esterified Fatty Acids) in the blood and an 8 percent in apolipoprotein B. Apolipoprotein B is a protein that is associated with a cholesterol linked to cardiovascular disease. This was not seen in the other two groups (Vince). Just because something is caffeine free doesn't mean that it has to be better for the human body. People often assume this and in reality they are really hurting themselves even more without knowing.

Putting warning labels on all caffeinated beverages, food items and medication could also spread caffeine awareness across the nation. Many different types of pop have warning labels on them already saying that this product contains caffeine. These warning label doesn't include the harmful affects that caffeine has on the mind and body. If we put warning labels on all caffeinated beverages, food and medication, the U.S would be in even more debt then it already is. Putting warning labels on everything that can be consumed that has caffeine in it will cost a fortune. Warning labels would cost the United States government approximately $5.4 billion dollars (Vohr). That's 5.4 billion dollars that the U.S doesn't have to spend. Not only would it cost a fortune, the new bill would take forever to pass through all the stages or steps in congress. It would take months, possibly even years for a bill like this to pass through congress. Having warning labels on energy drinks and other caffeinated foods and beverages may stop a few people from drinking it but not thousands. A woman from California named Mary Rogan stated "Warning labels don’t teach people what choices to make (American Beverage Association)." Mary is absolutely right. Warning labels don't stop people from consuming that product. Most people don't even take the time to read what is on the label. Why waste the money if people aren't going to pay attention to it? Putting warning labels on all caffeinated beverages, food items and medication is definitely not an effective way to spread awareness about caffeine across the nation.

In conclusion, creating a Caffeine Aware program is the most effective way to spread awareness about caffeine and its negative effects on the human body when consumed in high quantities. Many people don't know that caffeine does have some benefits when consumed in low to moderate quantities. This program would be able to inform people about the benefits of drinking a little bit of caffeine and what happens when you drink too much of it. Caffeine Aware program would be able to spread awareness about caffeine across the United States and the globe by having commercials, a section about caffeine in health classes and having celebrities talk about the negative effects on social media sites. Sure there are other solutions out there that could possibly stop people from consuming high amounts of caffeine; however, those solutions won't be as effective. There is change and a better tomorrow right around the corner. The Caffeine Aware program could help people become aware about the harmful effects that caffeine can have and develop a healthier lifestyle and body.

Solution Proposal Peer Review Belinda Corniea

Works Cited

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