Take three lattes a day for that

steaming cup of black coffee

Worried about the level of your caffeine intake? Well, new research has indicated that 3-4 cups per day may be doing more good than harm, except during pregnancy

UK researchers seeking to evaluate the evidence for associations between coffee consumption and multiple health outcomes reviewed 201 observational studies, and found that consumption “seems generally safe within usual levels of intake”.

Summary estimates indicated the largest risk reduction for various health outcomes was with an intake of three to four cups per day, and this level of consumption was more likely to benefit health than harm.

Intake of three to four cups a day when compared to no coffee consumption was associated with a 17% reduced risk of all cause mortality, a 19% reduction in risk of cardiovascular mortality and a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

High versus low coffee consumption was also associated with an 18% lower risk of incident cancer, the researchers found.

Consumption was also associated with a lower risk of several specific cancers and neurological, metabolic, and liver conditions, they said.

Harmful associations were largely nullified by adequate adjustment for smoking, except in pregnancy, where high versus low/no consumption was associated with low birth weight (31% increased risk), preterm birth in the first and second trimester, and pregnancy loss.

Beneficial associations between coffee consumption and liver outcomes (fibrosis, cirrhosis, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer) have relatively large and consistent effect sizes compared with other outcomes, the authors said.

“Consumption is also beneficially associated with a range of other health outcomes and importantly does not seem to have definitive harmful associations with any outcomes outside of pregnancy,” they concluded.

“The association between consumption and risk of fracture in women remains uncertain but warrants further investigation”.

The authors did add that existing evidence was observational and of lower quality, and randomised controlled trials are needed into the effects of caffeine consumption.

The study was published in the BMJ recently

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  1. pagophilus

    People keep doing research on their favourite vices in order to justify their continued indulgence in them. Hence we keep seeing studies on the benefits of chocolate, alcohol, caffeine etc.

    Caffeine is addictive. How is it beneficial for me not to be able to function at an appropriate level unless I can get to the kettle or coffee machine at work first thing in the morning, and continue the intake throughout the day? Imagine for a moment there was a coffee shortage. The world wouldn’t be able to function and everyone would tear each other to shreds.

    No thanks, no coffee for me. I just ride each day out fairly level, no ups and downs, no angst, no withdrawal.

    Liquid handcuffs. (And it tastes foul to boot. It’s an acquired taste. Drinking bitter muddy coloured liquid.)

    One day they will learn…..

    • BUT make sure you drink real coffee not the awful instant variety- yuk!!-

      (Btw-I’ve had so many EXPENSIVE home cappuccino makers over the years- none lasted very long and always problems and repairs- Got a
      “cheap”Lavazza Amodo Mio from supermarket 2 years ago- sealed coffee
      pods, (replacement coffee pods from Woollies)- attached froth.maker without having to shake (use skim milk for best froth),- no messy clean-ups of coffee grains-works a treat and coffee is great!!).

      Now, as for the perennial question of safety of drinking coffee during pregnancy, the “scares ” about worrying over small intake (1-2 cups daily), have come up routinely over many years.
      The most reliable summary in recent times, including also the issue of caffeine intake overall during pregnancy, came from Motherisk in Canada in 2013, which reflects the consensus of expert opinion:- reprinted as below:

      Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?

      Motherisk 2013

      At: http://www.cfpc.ca/is_caffeine_consumption_safe_during_pregnancy/

      There are conflicting data on the fetal safety of dietary caffeine consumption during pregnancy, particularly at levels of 300 mg/d or greater. Although it is difficult to assess the risk of spontaneous abortion with caffeine consumption, most of the data do not suggest an increased risk of adverse pregnancy, fertility, or neurodevelopmental outcomes with caffeine consumption of 300 mg/d or less from all sources.
      Therefore, consumption of 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day is not expected to be a concern.

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