If you're a moderate coffee drinker — that means up to 3.5 cups a day — you may live a longer life, according to a study recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal established by the American College of Physicians.
Over a seven-year period, researchers tracked the daily coffee intake and health outcomes of 171,616 participants, who had a mean age of 56 and were both cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) free. Participants who routinely drank between 1.5 and 3.5 daily cups of coffee were about 30% less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers, according to the results.
Within that specific time frame, a total of 3,177 deaths were recorded, including 1,725 cancer deaths and 628 CVD deaths. The specific type of coffee beverage — such as decaffeinated, instant or single origin — didn't impact the final results.
Additionally, researchers found that coffee drinkers enjoyed a longer life span even if their cup(s) of joe were sweetened with sugar. However, the study clarified that "the association between artificially sweetened coffee and mortality was less consistent."
"Previous observational studies have suggested an association between coffee intake and reduced risk for death," lead author Dr. Dan Liu said in a statement to Internal Medicine News, "but they did not distinguish between coffee consumed with sugar or artificial sweeteners and coffee consumed without."
For the record, Dr. Christina C. Wee, deputy editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine, noted that "the average dose of added sugar per cup of sweetened coffee [in the study] was only a little over a teaspoon, or about 4 grams."
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The recent research doesn't prove that coffee, on its own, decreased the overall mortality risk of participants. Other sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical factors, which weren't explicitly outlined, may also impact health outcomes.
The study, however, reminds us of the numerous health benefits of drinking coffee, which include associations with reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart, liver, and neurological disorders, such as depression and Parkinson's disease.
But don't forget: There's such a thing as caffeine toxicity.