Daily coffee intake lowers risk of death suggests study – how much do you need to drink?

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Some people are hooked on the taste. Others need the energy boost in the morning. Regardless of why you choose to drink coffee, a new study vindicates the decision. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found moderate consumption of unsweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee was associated with a lower risk for death.

Of course, the finding comes with an important caveat: it matters how much you drink.

To understand more about the optimal intake, Express.co.uk spoke to Assistant Professor Giuseppe Grosso of the Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences in the University of Catania School of Medicine.

“The results of this study are quite consistent with previous studies and meta-analyses considering two to four cups per day as the amount typically associated with reduced risk of mortality,” explained Prof Grosso.

According to the professor, the study adds to the scientific literature of the role of sugar and artificially-sweetened coffee consumption compared to the unsweetened one: the association with lower risk of death is rather constant with about three or more cups per day of unsweetened coffee.

Although, Prof Grosso noted, “it is advisable not to go overboard with sugar-sweetened coffee, since a rise in mortality risk has been observed over the aforementioned doses”.

The professor added: “Results for artificially-sweetened coffee might be promising, but the large confidence intervals (meaning heterogeneity of results), does not provide a firm interpretation of the findings.”

Likewise, Doctor J. W. Langer, a Danish physician, a clinical pharmacology lecturer at Copenhagen University’s Medical School and the author of several books on nutrition, exercise, healthy lifestyle, and self-care, expressed cautious optimism about the findings.

The doctor, who is also an expert at the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, said: “In my opinion as a physician, one of the most important and reassuring findings of the new study is that a regular moderate intake of coffee does not seem to be harmful for most people, and can probably add some health benefits to you.”

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In fact, Doctor Langer noted, it could even lower one’s death risk, especially cancer deaths and cardiovascular related deaths.

Although, “as a lifestyle-focused physician my advice is that you should not consume coffee purely for health reasons or to prevent or treat diseases”.

The doc continued: “But if you, like me, love a couple of daily cups of coffee then the majority of research, including this new study, reassures us that coffee will do no harm. And might even make us live longer.”

Like Professor Grosso, Doctor Langer qualified the conclusions of the study.

“It is an observational study, though, implying that results and conclusions can never be definitive.”

The doc continues: “But the new study follows hot on the heels of results showing that a moderate coffee consumption seems related to a lower risk of several conditions ranging from liver disease, type 2 diabetes to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and even cardiovascular diseases.

“So all-in-all we should be reassured that, if you like coffee, you can enjoy it as part of a healthy diet without concern.”

The doc added: “The new study also confirms that a safe coffee intake can be defined as three to five cups per day, which confirms the European Food Safety Authority’s review of caffeine safety.”

The study was based on 171, 616 participants enrolled in the UK Biobank – a large-scale biomedical database and research resource, containing in-depth genetic and health information from half a million UK participants.

Baseline demographic, lifestyle, and dietary data from the UK Biobank were used, with follow-up beginning in 2009 and ending in 2018.

Moderate consumption of unsweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee was found to be associated with a lower risk of death.

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