Coffee is a popular beverage for many people and is associated with various health benefits. A new study suggests that drinking a moderate amount of sweetened or unsweetened coffee is associated with a lower risk of death. Due to the observational nature of the study, the results cannot conclusively prove that coffee reduces the risk of death.
Many people like to wake up in the morning and have a cup of coffee. Coffee consumption is associated with aspects of culture and social interaction, but what about the health benefits? Researchers are still striving to understand all of the health benefits of drinking coffee and the risks associated with it. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that moderate consumption of coffee, sweetened or unsweetened, was associated with decreased mortality.
Benefits of coffee consumption for health
Coffee is a popular drink, both in Europe and around the world. It contains certain nutrients as well as caffeine. Due to the popularity of coffee, consumers and researchers alike have a vested interest in understanding the beverage’s impact on health and well-being.
A recent analysis showed that most people can safely consume between one and four cups of coffee per day, which is a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day. Coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of specific health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. Coffee consumption is also associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancers and a reduced risk of mortality. But does it make a difference how people drink their coffee? That’s what the researchers in the current study set out to find out.
Coffee: 170 000 people followed for 7 years.
In this study, the researchers sought to determine whether the lower mortality risk associated with the consumption of coffee always applies with the addition of artificial sweeteners or sugar to coffee. They noted that previous studies had found a decreased risk of death associated with coffee consumption. However, these studies did not distinguish between coffee consumed with sugar or artificial sweeteners and coffee consumed without.
The study included more than 170 000 participants, and the researchers followed the participants for an average of 7 years. Participants were eligible for the study if they did not have cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer at baseline. The researchers obtained an initial assessment of the participants’ coffee consumption, noting whether they drank sweetened, artificially sweetened, or unsweetened coffee. They then examined the association of coffee consumption with all-cause mortality and mortality from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The authors considered lifestyle factors, clinic and sociodemography in their analysis. They found that more than half of the coffee drinkers in the study drank unsweetened coffee. In general, those who added sugar added less than 1.5 teaspoons.
The study showed that moderate consumption of coffee, with or without sugar, was associated with a decrease mortality risk. However, results regarding mortality risk and artificial sweeteners were inconsistent.
A decrease in health risk of 30 %
This observational study found that moderate coffee consumption, about 1.5 to 3.5 cups per day, even with added sugar, was probably not harmful to most people and appeared to be associated with a 30% reduction in mortality risk. These results suggest that people who drink coffee can continue to do so without concern, which is good news for a large part of the population.
Study limitations and continuation research
While some might be rushing to get their next cup of coffee, the study has several limitations to consider. First, the study authors noted that their research did not take into account changes in coffee consumption or possible changes in sweetener use over time.
Second, the participants self-reported the amount of coffee they drank and other dietary factors, which may increase the risk of errors.
Third, the researchers collected coffee consumption data from the UK Biobank, an extensive medical database containing information on the health of people in the UK. The authors described these data as “not representative of the sampled population”. Given the observational nature of the study, the results cannot conclusively prove that coffee reduces the risk of death. This study does not take into account healthy lifestyle factors that may confound or contribute to decreased mortality risk.
Researchers also noted that the group that used artificial sweeteners artificial was the smallest. Therefore, the likelihood of confusion was much higher. It was also more difficult to note any significant association in this group. Finally, the follow-up duration of the study was relatively short, making it difficult to note specific associations with certain causes of death.
Overall, the results indicate that most people can take the results and their coffee with a spoonful of sugar.
The Potential Health Benefit of Coffee: Does a Spoonful of Sugar Make It All Go Away?
Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can replace the advice of a health professional.
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