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Coffee ‘reduces risk of death from all causes’

Tuesday July 11th, 2017

Coffee drinkers may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, according to the largest study yet on the effects of coffee drinking and mortality.

According to the findings the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London, which were published last night (10 July 2017) in the Annals of Internal Medicine, higher levels of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption were associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes, particularly from circulatory diseases and diseases related to the digestive tract.

The study analysed data the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition), looking at the diets of 521,330 people from over the age of 35 from 10 EU countries.

Danes reported the highest level of coffee consumption, drinking 900 mL per day, while Italians had the lowest at just 92 mL per day.

After 16 years of follow up, almost 42,000 people in the study had died and researchers found that the group with the highest consumption of coffee had a lower risk for all-causes of death, compared to those who did not drink coffee.

Although they found that decaffeinated coffee had a similar effect, the research scientists admitted that they could not exclude the fact that decaffeinated coffee drinkers may also have drunk caffeinated coffee.

In a subset of 14,000 people, the research team analysed metabolic biomarkers and found that coffee drinkers may have healthier livers overall and better glucose control than non-coffee drinkers.

IARC’s Dr Marc Gunter, lead author, said: “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases.

“Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.”

Professor Elio Riboli, head of the School of Public Health at Imperial, who established the EPIC study, added: “These findings add to a growing body of evidence which indicates that drinking coffee not only is safe, but it may actually have a protective health effect for people. While further research is needed, we can be confident that the results from a large European study confirm previous findings seen around the world.”

The study team has called for more research to establish which of coffee’s compounds may have a protective effect or potentially benefitting health.

Gunter MJ, Murphy N, Cross AJ et al. Coffee drinking and mortality in 10 European countries. Annals of Internal Medicine 10 July 2017; doi:10.7326/M16-2945

Tags: Diet & Food | Europe | General Health

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