Do a quick Google search, and you’ll find plenty of articles convincing you that coffee is a cure-all for any problem with your health or happiness. Articles are titled “75 Amazing Benefits of Coffee,” “The Case for Drinking Coffee is Stronger than Ever” and “13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science.”
Articles claiming the entirely opposite view can also be found. Various articles hailed the benefits of quitting coffee, such as “10 Reasons to Quit Coffee (Plus Healthy Alternatives)” and “10 Health Benefits of Living Caffeine-Free.” Also based on science.
Given that more than 60% of Americans—and 90% of American college students—drink at least one cup of coffee every day, knowing the possible benefits or problems with drinking coffee seems like a good idea. So how can these articles come to such differing conclusions that coffee is either a cure-all or a serious detriment to our health?
A TIME article from 2017 explained that many of the older studies that claimed coffee caused heart problems and a higher mortality rate didn’t account for other poor health habits such as smoking, drinking and not exercising. When new studies accounted for those variables, the results showed no link between drinking coffee and a higher risk of health problems.
In addition, many other articles against coffee simply emphasize the negative effects of drinking too much coffee, not just drinking any coffee in general. Most articles and studies today claim that coffee actually is good for you. Coffee can increase your lifespan, decrease risk of stroke and lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, among other benefits (We’re not going to list all 75 here!).
For college students, the benefits of coffee continue. A Johns Hopkins study from 2014 found that the caffeine in coffee can even enhance memory for at least 24 hours post-consumption. Now that explains how that one kid in your class gets a 4.0.
But even the pro-coffee articles stress the importance of not drinking too much coffee. Different studies and articles suggest differing amounts of caffeine a day, but most scientists and doctors agree that you should drink fewer than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.
To put that in perspective, with 400 milligrams at Starbucks, you could have either one venti hot coffee or almost two venti iced coffees; or you could splurge and get four trenta pink drinks or two venti iced lattes. Or 16 grande decaf hot coffees (don’t forget; decaf coffee still has caffeine in it!).
For those of you making your own coffee in your dorm room, try sticking to fewer than 32 ounces of coffee (or about four cups), and you’ll be all set.
Overall, the research points to the positive benefits outweighing the potential negatives. So, college students, if you need to stay up late to study or need a pick-me-up in the morning, by all means drink a cup of coffee.
Just remember to be aware of how much caffeine you’re having; moderation is key. Take a day off every once in a while and just drink water. And, you know, if you’re always tired, sleep works wonders, too.