The health benefits of coffee

The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing – September 25, 2017 – Robert H. Shmerling, MD – Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

What a difference a few years can make. Not long ago, I was learning about the dangers of coffee — how it could raise your blood pressure, make your heart race, impair sleep, and maybe even cause cancer.

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is taking coffee off the possible carcinogen list. And there’s increasing evidence that coffee might actually be good for you. So good that doctors might begin recommending it.

I hope to read an article like this about opioids someday when all the supposed negatives are shown to be the results of poorly designed and/or executed studies. 

What’s changed? It’s all about the evidence.

Possible health benefits of coffee

Over the last several decades, coffee has been among the most heavily studied dietary components. And the news is mostly good.

Moderate coffee consumption (three to four cups per day) has been linked with longer lifespan. In fact, a November 2015 study in Circulation found that coffee consumption was associated with an 8% to 15% reduction in the risk of death (with larger reductions among those with higher coffee consumption).

Other studies have found that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of

  • cardiovascular disease (including heart attack, heart failure, and stroke)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • uterine and liver cancer
  • cirrhosis
  • gout.

The reason that coffee drinking might be beneficial is unknown.

One factor, of course, could be the caffeine, but that can be hard to sort out from the research because many studies do not distinguish whether the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated.

Possible health risks of coffee

A number of studies have linked coffee consumption to health problems, including:

Bladder and pancreatic cancer. Studies performed more than 30 years ago suggested a potential link between coffee consumption and cancers of the bladder, pancreas, and possibly others.
...older studies raising red flags about a cancer link have since been used as examples of “fishing expeditions” and weak research methodology.

This is exactly how opioids are being studied . Fishing expeditions are disguised as scientific studies and statistics are manipulated to show only the negative.

Esophageal cancer. In its recently released report, the WHO has raised concerns that drinking coffee (or other beverages) at temperatures higher than 149° F may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. However, this is not unique to coffee.

Cardiovascular disease. Studies linking coffee consumption to cardiovascular disease have mostly observed it with higher consumption (well above four cups per day)
some of these studies did not account for smoking, which often accompanies coffee consumption

A new move by the WHO… and others

In a June 2016 report, the WHO officially lifted coffee from the list of potentially carcinogenic foods. It went on to designate coffee as potentially protective against cancer of the uterus and liver.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (commissioned by the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture) thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that “moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern…”

And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.

In conclusion…

It’s unusual that a food on the “cancer risk list” comes off of it — and it’s even more unusual that such foods then become considered a healthy choice. But, as the millions of people drinking coffee every day will tell you, when it comes to coffee, there’s nothing like it.

This proves just how unbalanced the “outcomes” of studies can be.

I wonder how long it will take before more professionals notice that studies on opioids are as corrupted as studies were on coffee, when the end result was decided in advance and the study was merely designed to prove it.

Original article: The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee

 

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