Coffee affects teen health

Coffee affects teen health

Tatiana Gutierrez & Madison Riehle

Senior Erika Jesse pours herself a cup of Tully’s coffee. Doctors and Nutritionists do not encourage a daily intake of coffee for teens. SOPHIA REDFERN | The Broadview

Freshman Sabine Dahi walks into school each morning with a Starbucks cup in her hand and finishes her daily skinny vanilla latte by the start of class. Dahi says she uses the coffee to wake her up, but doctors and nutritionists do not recommend a daily intake of caffeine for teens.

“Caffeine is a stimulant meaning it stimulates your nervous system,” said a Kaiser Permanente nurse who asked to remain anonymous because she is not authorized by Kaiser to speak on the record. “It can raise your blood sugar levels, which can be harmful towards teens.”

Caffeine energizes the central nervous system, giving a temporary energy boost and possible mood elevation. This boost can last up to six hours, causing a craving for more caffeine after its effects wear off, according to

“I noticed as I drank more coffee, it didn’t wake me up as much as it used to, so I feel like I need more in the middle of the day,” Dahi said.

Although there is no truth to the urban legend that caffeine can stunt growth, caffeine in high doses can cause dizziness, headaches and the jitters. Having almost four cups a day can cause more serious problems like insomnia, irritability, stomach upset, fast heartbeat and muscle tremors.

“When I think about it, being so alert all day, and sometimes all night, and being shaky during my first peroid class was normal to me,” Dahi said.

Coffee not only interferes with the body’s natural sleep routine, but has empty calories and fats. Dahi’s regular grande skinny vanilla latte according to Starbucks has 120 calories and 21 grams of sugar, slightly over half of the daily recommended intake of sugar.

“People become dependent on caffeine,” said the Kaiser nurse. “As people drink more coffee, they eventually can’t feel the effects anymore.”

Caffeine found in coffee can cause severe addictions for drinkers, causing withdrawal symptoms such as trouble concentrating and headaches after missing a morning cup of joe, according to John Hopkins Medical Center.

“Being a teenager, it’s hard to be able to do all of your homework, go to bed at a reasonable time and be able to wake up feeling energized.” said Dahi, “I need the coffee to wake me up and stay up.”