Is Coffee Killing You? Dr. Kevin Weighs In

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

We are a society of coffee drinkers but, if you are like me, you get along without it just fine in the morning. Coffee is the world’s most coveted drink and its flavor, aroma, and social appeal make it a favorite among most people.

Recently, there has been some evidence to refute claims that too much coffee was not really a good thing for your health. New research had discovered that coffee contained important compounds with antioxidant capabilities that actually helped with blood sugar regulation and cholesterol synthesis. The great thing about this new research is that, for most people, moderate amounts of coffee appeared to be safe to drink. Well, at least until now.

New research presented at the Mayo Clinic Proceedings on August 15 looked at 43,727 participants from the Aerobics Centre Longitudinal Study and followed them for 17 years. During this time, 2,512 deaths occurred with 32% being attributed to cardiovascular disease. The data analysis indicated that men who drank more than 28 cups of coffee per week (about four cups of coffee a day) had a 21% increase in all-cause mortality compared to non-drinkers (death from any cause). There was no such association found in female participants. In male participants younger than 55 years of age who drank more than 28 cups of coffee per week, the risk of dying from any cause was 56% higher compared to non-drinkers. However, in younger women, consumption of more than 28 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 113% increased risk of all-cause mortality compared to female participants who did not drink coffee.

“Explaining why, we can try to tease stuff out, but I don’t really have a good reason to explain why non-cardiovascular mortality is increased,” said Dr. Chip Lavie, one of the study’s authors. “And non-cardiovascular mortality includes a lot of different things—it includes cancer and mortality from suicides and accidents and infections. Why would a high amount of coffee increase non-cardiovascular mortality, particularly in young people? The mechanism is not clear. It might be only an association. It may not be that coffee caused the death. This is the case with studies that aren’t randomized, and we’re never going to get a randomized study of something like coffee.”

I think these comments are quite important given the results of this study. Although it has a large sample size and the follow-up was conducted over a long period of time, it was a retrospective analysis and as such can be misleading. Firstly, the coffee consumption was not analyzed over time including preparation methods, type ingested, serving sizes, and changes in consumption over time. The data analysis was not controlled for marital status, caloric consumption, educational level, smoking, and other factors. These variables alone could greatly bias the results.

In my opinion, the previous data I have seen seems to agree that three to four cups of coffee per day is quite safe for most people. This study, although rather interesting, does not prove that drinking more than 28 cups of coffee per week results in the increased likelihood that younger people would die prematurely from a non-cardiac event like cancer, accidents, or other causes

In point of fact, drinking coffee can actually decrease your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease. There has been no significant degree of previous research indicating that higher coffee consumption can increase your risk of death from all causes if you are less than 55 years of age!

For the time being, you can rest assured that in most cases, regular coffee consumption is safe and will not cause you to leave this earth before your time.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
O’Riordan, M., “Heavy Coffee Consumption Linked With Increased Risk of All-Cause Death,” Medscape web site, August 15, 2013;, last accessed August 20, 2013.
Liu, J., et al., “Association of Coffee Consumption With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, published online August 19, 2013.