The United States drinks around 517 million cups of coffee every day. While caffeine can be a tough habit to kick, researchers are finding more and more health benefits to coffee. Health advantages range from reduced risk of heart attacks to treatment for ADHD.
Now, researchers in China found that moderate coffee drinkers, who take it black or with sugar, have a lower risk of early death.
Morning brew in the name of health?
Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study examined the data of 171,000 coffee drinkers over seven years. The data was collected from the UK BioBank which included information on participants’ genetics, lifestyle, health, and, yes, coffee-drinking habits. The research team tracked mortality via death certificates. Over the seven years, 3,177 participants died.
The team took into account factors like age, sex, ethnicity, educational level, smoking status, amount of physical activity, body mass index, and diet. Even after this, they found that those who took their coffee without sweeteners were at the lowest risk of early death.
The study found a remarkable 29 percent lower risk of death for those drinking between 2.5 to 4.5 cups a day. There was also a reduction in death for those who put sugar in their coffee and drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day. There was a lack of data, though, on the effects of artificial and alternative sweeteners, or the effects of coffee alternatives like mushroom coffee.
Scientists uninvolved in the study caution that these findings are not conclusive. There may be a correlation but not causation. Coffee drinkers are generally wealthier, having the disposable income to drink a lot of coffee and engage in other healthy habits.
However, Dr. Christina Wee, deputy editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine, wrote in an editorial that coffee is most likely not harmful. It is a good idea, though, to try to avoid sweeteners.
“So drink up – but it would be prudent to avoid too many caramel macchiatos while more evidence brews,” she wrote.