According to the largest study on coffee to date, funded by what appears to be a reliable source without conflicts of interest, the cup is tipping in the direction of suggested coffee consumption benefits!
The ongoing, multinational European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study collected data over a 16-year period from more than half a million men and women from 10 different countries. The ethnically diverse study explored the effect of coffee consumption on risk of mortality.
After 16 years of follow-up, almost 42,000 of the subjects had passed away from a range of conditions. With careful statistical adjustments for lifestyle factors such as diet and smoking, the researchers found that the group that drank the highest amount of coffee—the top 25%—had a lower risk for all-cause mortality (death by any cause), compared to those who did not drink coffee. (1)
Those in the top 25% of coffee drinkers had significantly less risk of dying from digestive, circulatory and cerebrovascular diseases.
The researchers also saw noteworthy positive changes in bloodwork that included lower C-reactive protein levels (a measure for inflammation), lower liver enzymes, lower Hemoglobin A1C levels (a measure for average blood sugar), lower bad cholesterol and stronger immunity.
The Confusing Flip Side
Undeniably, not all studies are created equally. Studies have found that coffee consumption may shorten lifespan, raise cholesterol and triglycerides, increase inflammation markers, and if you are a genetically-slow caffeine metabolizer, it may increase the risk of non-fatal heart attacks. (2)
Other studies show it may cause insomnia, fatigue, cerebral infarction, as well as cardiovascular complications and caffeine withdrawals. In women, it may interfere with contraceptives ad postmenopausal hormone balance. (3)
So… What’s Up with Coffee?
Whenever I see conflicting science on both sides of the scientific aisle—which is all too common—I look for wisdom from our ancestors. What was the traditional use of coffee? What were the predicted benefits and risks from traditional systems of medicine that have been in place for thousands of years?
Stay tuned for my upcoming article, “The Good, The Bad and The Ayurvedic Perspective of Coffee,” where I’ll dive deep into both the ancient wisdom and the modern science surrounding this very hot and controversial topic.