A few years ago, when Illinois Institute of Art student Alex Smyth was a hard-core competitive video gamer, caffeine was the elixir that fueled his all-night Halo rampages. He chugged a dozen energy drinks a day and never felt any ill effects, he said.
“I love caffeine,” said Smyth, 21, who has since moved on to coffee. “It makes me live.”
He’s far from alone in his affection for the world’s most beloved stimulant: In North America alone, some research has concluded, up to 90 percent of adults say they consume caffeine regularly. Yet for centuries, it has been occasionally attacked as an unhealthy — even immoral — substance.
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