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]