Do Java, Live Longer!

Yet again, the counter-intuitive idea that coffee is good for you is given a boost!

It’s known that coffee drinkers are less likely to get dementia, stroke, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Several studies have shown that.

Now a new and pretty large study has shown that coffee drinkers are 10- 15% less likely to die from all causes. That’s big!

However—a warning. These were adjusted figures, meaning other factors were written out. In truth coffee drinkers are more likely to smoke and therefore, truly, coffee drinkers didn’t do so well when all factors were taken into account. But it’s because of the smoking, not the coffee.

In any case, nobody has proved that coffee is beneficial. Only that coffee drinkers are different in some way. It may not be the coffee but something else they do, like work out more in the gym.

It reminds me of a food allergy patient of mine back in the 1980s. He got migraines every time he drank whisky. Case closed? No! It was the peanuts he ate along with the whisky!!

Over the years 1995 – 2008, the researchers looked at 33,731 men and 18,784 women who died. That’s a pretty big study.

It showed a dose-dependent (the more coffee, the bigger the effect) inverse association between coffee drinking and total mortality.

More specifically, they found that men who consumed 6 or more cups of coffee each day were 10% less likely to die during the study period than were men who did not drink coffee. For women, the reduction in risk was even greater, at 15%.

As for cause-specific mortality, this effect held good deaths resulting from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, infections, injuries, and accidents, but NOT deaths from cancer.

The researchers themselves pointed out the biggest weakness with the study, which was that coffee consumption was assessed at only a single point in time (upon entry into the study), so it is possible that consumption patterns might have changed over time.

There was also no study of how the coffee was served. So if you want an extra tip from an old warhorse (me), I’ll tell you that latte and cappuccino are not good choices. It’s back to the milk thing. But also fat and calories.

Lattes and cappuccino are just schlock. The benefits of coffee have mostly been seen in Europe, where espresso is the norm and black is usual. And taken without sugar. If you want sweetness, why drink coffee? It’s bitter, for heaven’s sake. That’s why true coffee lovers like it!

So be warned about the cream; never add sucralose. Otherwise, caffeine may be the way to go! (Providing you are not allergic to it).

[REFERENCE: N Engl J Med. 2012;366:1891-1904. Abstract]

10 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Doc
    Not so fast on the demerits of milk in coffee. I like lots of fresh raw cream to mellow down any bitterness in the coffee. The cream gives me good fat, the woltzen factor and the X nutrient along with much more. Check with the Weston A. Price Foundation for the benefits of raw dairy products
    enough said.
    Eric

    • You have some missing data Eric,
      I have always “cut” my coffee with a dash of milk.
      It’s far too bitter otherwise.

  2. Alas, love coffee but am one of those who shluld not drink it- now it inflames my stomach- think I will never get rid of the tendency to inflammation there.
    And cant find anything to take its place.
    water is so boring.

  3. Ahh, coffee…. The rich aroma and heavenly taste! Alas, not for me. It gives me shivers or rather one big shiver that does not seem to end; it is like all of my cells are tickling and shaking for hours after a big cuppa. Not worth the 5 min or drinking delight. So, I quit coffee few months ago and do not miss it any more.

  4. Marie: take heart!

    I drink over 3 cups of coffee a day, except in the cold winter, I started drinking GREEN TEA. I have never cared for tea, except when my mother loaded it with sugar when I felt bad.
    I started to keep warm in the house, without drinking coffee all day. At first, I put honey in it, yummm. I ran out of honey one day adn managed to drink it without sugar or honey, and by the end of the day, as long as it was warm, I liked it.
    I make about 3 caraffs of it a day(just adding one more tea bag on top of the older tea bags, and it tastes fine. YOU WILL GET USED TO IT.

  5. Marie: take heart!

    I drink over 3 cups of coffee a day, except in the cold winter, I started drinking GREEN TEA. I have never cared for tea, except when my mother loaded it with sugar when I felt bad.
    I started, to keep warm in the house, without drinking coffee all day. At first, I put honey in it, yummm. I ran out of honey one day and managed to drink it without sugar or honey, and by the end of the day, as long as it was warm, I liked it. I still have my 2 or 3 cups of coffee to start the day.(no spell-check?)
    I make about 3 caraffs of it a day(just adding one more tea bag on top of the older tea bags, and it tastes fine. YOU WILL GET USED TO IT.

  6. Ahh, cafe. Just so happens I am a roaster; and taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s disease. Her thirst for coffee never has ceased and there’s no question it helps her with day to day function.

    I have a theory about why the coffee becomes so intrinsic beyond just the caffeine that keeps a person going. Coffee has the most flavors of any food or drink- over 800 have been found in fresh roasted coffee. The next closest food is Vanilla with over 200 flavors. As the olfactory senses are stripped from Alzheimer’s patients it seems they still seek the flavor they can’t actually taste- coffee may provide that link. Certain spices also work this way, such as saffron which has proven effect to combat dementia.

  7. What about the fact that coffee or more correctly, caffeine, robs the brain of acetylcholine? This results in an automatic search for further supply of acetylcholine and unfortunately, this comes from nerve cell membranes. The long term results are not good for brain function. It is, of course, not just coffee but all caffeine drinks that bring about this reaction. So the news with coffee is not all good. I see that Marten has already raised this issue.

Comments are closed.

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