Feeling guilty about that third or fourth cup of coffee today? Don’t! Researchers gathered evidence from more than 200 studies and have found that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of death and getting heart disease compared with drinking no coffee. What’s more, coffee drinking is also associated with lower risk of some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia!
But drinking coffee during pregnancy may be harmful, and coffee may be linked to a very small increased risk of fracture in women. But excluding pregnancy and women at risk of fracture, coffee drinking appears safe and actually beneficial, says a team led by Dr. Robin Poole, Specialist Registrar in Public Health at the University of Southampton, with collaborators from the University of Edinburgh. They carried out an umbrella review of 201 studies that had aggregated data from observational research and 17 studies that had aggregated data from clinical trials across all countries and all settings and published their findings in The BMJ.
The studies used mainly observational data, so it’s impossible to draw conclusions about cause and effect, but the team’s findings support other recent reviews and studies of coffee intake. The researchers call for randomized controlled trials “to understand whether the key observed associations are causal.”
For those of you wondering about decaf, there was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee, but it had similar benefits for a number of outcomes.