People who drink coffee — with or without sugar — appear to have a lower risk of premature death, although experts warn that the result may not be due to the brewing itself.
About 98 million cups of coffee are drunk every day in the UK, according to the British Coffee Association, with the National Coffee Association revealing that the figure in the US is around 517 million.
Previous studies have shown that the drink can be good for health, with coffee drinking being linked to a lower risk of diseases ranging from chronic liver disease to some types of cancer and even dementia.
Now, researchers in China have found that over a seven-year period, people who drank a moderate amount of coffee per day, with or without sugar, were less likely to die than those who didn’t.
Similar results were found for instant, ground, and decaffeinated coffee.
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, is based on data from more than 171,000 participants from the UK’s BioBank – which has collected genetic, lifestyle and health information from more than 500,000 people since it began in 2006, including participants’ details. coffee drinking habits
The team used data from death certificates to follow participants for an average of seven years from 2009, when 3,177 people died.
After accounting for factors such as age, gender, race, education level, smoking status, amount of physical activity, body mass index and diet, the team found that people who drank unsweetened coffee compared to those who didn’t drink had the lowest risk. from death.
The largest reduction, a 29% lower risk of death, was observed in those who drank between 2.5 and 4.5 cups per day.
Sugar-sweetened coffee also showed a reduced risk of death, at least in those who drank between 1.5 and 3.5 cups a day. The trend was less clear in people using artificial sweeteners.
However, the study only asked participants once about coffee drinking and other habits and was based on self-reports. Most of those who used sugar only added a scoop to their drink – so it’s unclear if the results would apply to higher-sugar specialty coffees.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, who was not involved in the work, cautioned that the findings – while intriguing – are inconclusive.
“The observational nature of this new study means that these conclusions are far from definitive,” he said.
“This is because coffee drinkers are generally richer and live healthier lives than non-drinkers, and I’m not convinced that these factors can be overcome in observational studies.” Professor Starr added that genetic evidence links coffee to important health benefits.
“I would suggest that people stick to coffee or tea, preferably without sugar, which most people can get used to, and try to do all the other things we know help keep you healthy – exercise more, eat and sleep Better.”
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Christina Wei, the magazine’s deputy editor-in-chief, agreed that the results were inconclusive. But, she added, it appears that drinking coffee, whether it’s unsweetened or with a modest amount of sugar, is unlikely to be harmful for most people.
“So drink – but it would be wise to avoid too much caramel macchiato while more evidence saturates,” she wrote.