Three coffees a day linked more to health than harm, scientists say

Three coffees a day linked more to health than harm, scientists say

Drinking coffee beyond these amounts was not associated with harm, but the benefits were less pronounced.

Any versus no coffee consumption was associated with a 29% lower risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (relative risk 0.71, 95% CI 0.60-0.85), a 27% lower risk for liver fibrosis (odds ratio 0.73, 95% CI 0.56-0.94), and a 39% lower risk for liver cirrhosis (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.45-0.84), as well as a lower risk of cirrhosis with high versus low consumption (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.44-1.07).

Researchers brought together evidence from over 200 studies and found that drinking three to four cups a day was associated with a lower risk of death and getting heart disease compared with drinking no coffee.

Findings from the world's largest study into coffee and its impact on health, published earlier this year, showed it was a "wonderful medicine" and those who consumed it regularly could cheat an early death.

Daily consumption of coffee is safe within usual patterns of intake and more likely to benefit health than to harm it, British researchers concluded.

A team which collated the findings of more than 200 previous studies also found coffee consumption was linked to lower risks of diabetes, liver disease, dementia and some cancers.

Three of four cups of coffee offer the most health benefits, except for pregnant women or those who are prone to suffer fractures.

But co-author Professor Paul Roderick says that it's not too clear what role coffee in particular had on the results.

High consumption levels are also associated with an 18% lower risk of incident cancer, as well as lowering the risk of specific cancers including prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and skin cancer.

A research limitation was that much of the evidence was low quality and came from observational studies which may include residual confounding.

However, the researchers from the University of Southampton did find that drinking coffee during pregnancy could cause harm and the drink may be linked to a very small increased risk of fracture in some women.

Poole's group searched PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for meta-analyses of observational or interventional studies that investigated the link between coffee consumption and any health outcome.

The protection was greatest for liver and bowel tumours.

There was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee, but it had similar benefits, they said. Some say drinking one cup is good, others say three, and there are even a few that reckon that seven, yes, seven cups are good for you.

The authors found that harmful associations linked to the caffeinated drink were "largely nullified" when other factors were taken into account such as smoking.

"Coffee is often consumed with products rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats", he said.

"Moderate coffee consumption seems remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population".

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