• By Dana Sparks

Is coffee drinking part of a healthy diet? 

July 3, 2018


Drinking coffee is healthy and might contribute to a longer life, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The population-based study of 500,000 people from UK Biobank reviewed coffee consumption and concluded it can be part of a healthy diet.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, says coffee can benefit many people who drink it as long as they don't suffer negative side effects from caffeine. Dr. Hensrud was not involved with the study.

“This latest research is consistent with many other previous studies that have reported coffee has many health benefits, including helping people live longer, as in this report," says Dr. Hensrud. "This large study adds to the current literature by extending previous results to all coffee drinkers, including those who drink large amounts and regardless of genetic differences in how people metabolize caffeine." The results were consistent among people who drank caffeinated, decaffeinated and instant coffee.

There were two studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2017 with similar results regarding the health benefits of drinking coffee. One study found coffee drinking is associated with a reduced risk of death from various diseases, and the other study showed drinking a lot of coffee is associated with a lower death risk in African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and Caucasians.

“Many people still believe that coffee is bad for health," says Dr. Hensrud. "However, the evidence from many different studies suggests the opposite." He says coffee has been associated with decreased mortality, as well as a decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, and various cancers. "If someone is not having side effects from coffee, there are few reasons to decrease consumption." Dr. Hensrud adds the one exception is women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. He says limiting consumption to less than two cups per day is prudent.

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