Daily Coffee May Lower Risk of Early Death

by Beatrice MarkenzonJun 3, 2022

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People who drink a few cups of coffee each day — whether it’s sweetened with a spoonful of sugar or not — are less likely to die prematurely, a new study suggests.

There might be something about coffee that helps people live longer. A new study suggests that people who drink moderate amounts of coffee — about 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day — are less likely to wind up in an early grave.

This goes for both black coffee and coffee sweetened with sugar, according to the study, published May 31 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers followed 172,000 adults without any history of heart disease or cancer for an average of seven years. All of the participants were part of the U.K. Biobank, and provided extensive medical information including details about their diet and lifestyle.

People who regularly drank black coffee were 16 percent to 21 percent less likely to die during the study period, while coffee drinkers who added about a teaspoon of sugar had 29 to 31 percent lower odds of a premature death.

Results Were Inconclusive for Artificial Sweeteners

While some previous studies have linked coffee consumption to a lower risk of early death from all causes, much of this earlier research didn’t distinguish between black coffee and coffee with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. One drawback of the new study is that results were inconclusive for artificial sweeteners, researchers note.

It’s also possible that because the study was conducted in the United Kingdom, where many people prefer tea to coffee, that results might not be representative of any health benefits of coffee consumption in other parts of the world, particularly in places where loading coffee with lots of sugar, cream, and sweeteners is the norm.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how coffee might directly help prevent disease or help people live longer. Some previous research has linked coffee to improved memory and mood, increased fat burning, and a lower risk of diabetes and certain neurogenerative diseases. Coffee — especially in excess of four cups a day — has also been tied to health problems, including difficulty sleeping, headaches, a rapid heartbeat and muscle tremors.

Moderation in Consumption

With the latest study results, the bottom line is that most coffee drinkers don’t need to give up their daily habit, as long as they’re drinking coffee in moderation, the researchers conclude. The caveat is that this applies to black coffee or a drink sweetened with only a little sugar, not the supersized specialty coffee drinks popular in the United States that can be loaded with sugar and calories.

This means a caramel macchiato or pumpkin spice latte might not be as beneficial from a longevity standpoint as an espresso or an Americano.

Based on this data, clinicians can tell their patients that there is no need for most coffee drinkers to eliminate the beverage from their diet but to be cautious about higher calorie specialty coffees.

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(Article excerpted from everydayhealth.com)