Are you drinking too much coffee?

A study says it could lead to an early death

Published October 2, 2013 5:11PM (EDT)

       (<a href=''>Valentyn Volkov</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(Valentyn Volkov via Shutterstock)

This article originally appeared on Alternet.


Over the years, there has been an extensive health debate over whether coffee is really good or bad for our bodies, with strong arguments and research coming from both sides of the fence. Some research suggests that coffee can prevent strokes, delay the onset of diabetes and heart disease. Other findings indicate it might lead to  some forms of cancer and adversely affect the metabolism.

The most recent studyfrom the Mayo Clinic published on August 15 reveals that drinking more than 28 cups a week can harm your health considerably, with those consuming more than four cups a day twice as likely to die than those who are non-drinkers.

Based on data collected from the Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study, the research measured the coffee consumption habits and lifestyles of almost 45,000 people ages between 20 and 87 years over a 17-year period.

The study specifically found that men aged 55 years or younger who consumed more than 28 cups of coffee a week were 56 percent more likely to have died from any cause than those who were non-drinkers, and younger women doubled their risk of mortality with consumption.

However, there is no need to ring the alarm bells just yet. The study did not find any significant link between coffee consumption and heart disease deaths and there were no increased mortality risks associated with less than three cups a day as co-author Carl J. Lavie, a cardiology researcher at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans explained. “There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine, and coffee specifically, with some reports suggesting toxicity and some even suggesting beneficial effects," he  said.

The latest research conflicts with the findings of a number of previous studies on the health effects of coffee, such as a 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health which found that older adults who drank more coffee had a lower risk of death overall.

Joseph DeRupo from the National Coffee Association of USA, a trade association, told USA Today that the new study "presents findings that are out of step with prevailing science as well as with widely accepted research methods."

Research from Harvard School of Public Health claimed that drinking two to four cups a days could reduce the risk of suicide in adults by 50 percent, and the American Cancer Society found that drinking four or more cups a day could halve the risk of throat and mouth cancer, Medical News Today reported.

It seems in light of the various findings on coffee that, like most things in life, moderation is the key, with the growing body of research indicating that regular consumption of coffee when coupled with a balanced diet is perfectly safe.

As Lavie put it: “I personally feel one to two, probably even two to three, cups of coffee per day are safe. If you drink more than that, it's probably a good idea to try to cut back,” he said in  Men’s Journal.

By Jodie Gummow

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