Friday 23 August 2019

Lots of coffee good for health - it's the cake that hurts you

You can drink up guilt-free
You can drink up guilt-free

Christian Vander

It's often considered a vice but drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of major illnesses including heart disease and cancer.

Caffeine addicts will be pleased to hear their early morning espresso is "more likely to benefit health than harm", a new review has found.

Sadly, it's not all good news. While people are being encourage to enjoy the beverage guilt-free, scientists say it's necessary to 'hold the cake' and ditch the accompanying biscuits.

Professor Eliseo Guallar from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, US, said cake is the culprit when it comes to unhealthy consumption.

"Coffee is often consumed with products rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats," he said. "And these may independently contribute to adverse health outcomes."

Experts from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh recently conducted an extensive review analysing 200 studies to examine the effects of coffee consumption on health.

Researchers concluded that drinking coffee seems safe "within usual patterns of consumption", except in pregnancy.

Women with brittle bones and prone to fractures should also avoid the drink.

The study found that drinking three or four cups a day compared to drinking none has been linked to a lower likelihood of developing or dying from cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and stroke.

Drinking coffee seems to hold more health benefits than green tea; coffee has also been linked to a lower risk of specific cancers including prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, skin cancer and liver cancer.

Consumption also had "beneficial associations" with other conditions including diabetes, gallstones, gout and some liver conditions.

Coffee drinking is also linked to lower risk of Parkinson's disease, depression, and Alzheimer's disease, they found.

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

But the health benefits are not seen in pregnant women where high levels of coffee consumption is linked to lower birth rates, preterm birth and pregnancy loss.

The authors wrote: "Coffee consumption seems generally safe within usual levels of intake, with summary estimates indicating largest risk reduction for various health outcomes at three to four cups a day, and more likely to benefit health than harm."

Irish Independent

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