Andrew Tran

Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Food Matters 365

Stress is defined as the emotional strain or tension resulting from detrimental circumstances. Each one of us experiences stress from various obligations, projects, or academia and each person handles stress differently according to the urgency of the task.

As a result, most of us seek comfort from the nearest source possible: food. After completing a difficult task, we would treat ourselves by eating something delicious such as candy, chips, or ice cream and it gives us a feeling of satisfaction.

Because of stress from school projects, college students often develop very unhealthy eating habits. For example, college students would skip meals to have more time to work on their assignments and meet deadlines. Skipping meals causes college students to feel hungrier when they finally have time to eat their meal. College students will become more dependent on coffee because of stress.

Coffee is okay in small quantities; however, it is still a boost that impacts the human body especially in large quantities. When a student consumes over 400 milligrams of caffeine (two cups of coffee), they will experience unhealthy side effects such as migraines, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, upset stomach, and a quick heart rate. Drinking coffee becomes the universal remedy to tiredness and stress that a study by the National Coffee Association has found that 50% of young people from the ages of 18-24 consume coffee on a daily basis. While one cup of coffee will not harm a person, stress from school projects and work will cause students to consume more cups of coffee to accommodate tasks. As a result, the effects of coffee will slowly wear off the student.

The “Freshman 15” is a common trope that often plagues incoming college students as they experience what it’s like to not have balanced meals and eating at inconsistent times as opposed to home. “Freshman 15” is the first 15 pounds that students gain in their first year of college. It can occur through a variety of causes such as lack of exercise, emotional eating, drinking, and school stress. School stress is probably the main cause of the “Freshman 15” since it can cause students to seek comfort in eating.

When students consume more than exercise off, they will gain weight especially if they do not make the time to workout and exercise. It works like a domino effect. Once a student is stressed out, they will often go treat themselves or eat fast food to put more time into studying or projects. After that, they will gain weight unless they balance it with exercise.

It may seem that the “Freshman 15” happens to everyone; however, it is not always the case. There are ways to avoid getting the “Freshman 15” and methods to develop healthier eating habits. For example, sleeping more will reduce the hunger cravings experienced by college students since their bodies will feel regenerated and aware of their eating choices. With more sleep, students can reduce their caffeine intake because it causes dissatisfaction.

There has been a study that confirms that caffeine can a hunger suppressant. This means that coffee may have an impact when students eat and how often they will eat if they consumed coffee. Even if coffee keeps hunger away, it will come back to harm students when they have to eat their meals. Friends can help avoid the Freshman 15 so long as they do not ask to eat out often. Friends are often helpful sources of comfort in countering stress.