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Coffee Health Benefits

Six or more cups of coffee per day can increase risk of cardiovascular disease

Researchers say consumers need to drink in moderation

Are you drinking too much coffee? Several studies have debated the risks and benefits of one of consumers’ favorite drinks. While most experts have ruled that coffee can produce health benefits, new findings are showing that there is a level of consumption that goes too far. 

According to researchers from the University of South Australia, consumers who drink six or more cups of coffee per day could be at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

“There’s certainly a ...

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    Drinking coffee after breakfast could improve metabolism

    Researchers say consumers’ sleeping habits may also play a role

    A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Bath explored what effect coffee can have on consumers’ metabolisms. To ensure that our metabolisms are operating at optimal levels, their findings suggest that it’s better for consumers to have their morning coffee after eating breakfast instead of having it immediately after waking up -- especially after a night of disrupted sleep. 

    “We know that nearly half of us will wake in the morning and, before doing anything else, drink coffee -- intuitively the more tired we feel, the stronger the coffee,” said researcher James Betts. “This study is important and has far-reaching health implications as up until now we have had limited knowledge about what this is doing to our bodies, in particular for our metabolic and blood sugar control.”

    Making the most of morning coffee

    The researchers had 29 adults participate in three overnight scenarios in different orders. The experiments each night of the study tested how disrupted sleep held up against uninterrupted sleep, and then how consuming caffeine or sugar in the morning affected the participants’ bodily systems. 

    After analyzing blood samples from the participants after each of the trials, the researchers learned that having coffee too soon after waking can affect the body’s blood sugar response. The study revealed that when study participants drank coffee first thing in the morning, their blood sugar response spiked by 50 percent compared to when they ate breakfast before having coffee. 

    “Put simply, our blood sugar is impaired when the first thing our bodies come into contact with is coffee, especially after a night of disrupted sleep,” said Betts. “We might improve this by eating first and then drinking coffee later if we feel we still feel the need for it. Knowing this can have important health benefits for us all.” 

    The researchers also found that the body’s blood sugar response was similar when the participants experienced disrupted sleep versus uninterrupted sleep; the caffeine was what had the biggest impact on the body’s metabolism. They recommend that consumers rearrange their morning routines to ensure that their blood sugar levels don’t spike after having coffee too early. 

    “There is a lot more we need to learn about the effects of sleep on our metabolism, such as how much sleep disruption is necessary to impair our metabolism and what some of the longer-term implications of this are, as well as how exercise, for instance, could help to counter some of this,” said researcher Harry Smith. 

    A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Bath explored what effect coffee can have on consumers’ metabolisms. To ensure that our metabol...
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    Coffee could help reduce body fat in women, study finds

    Reaching for that extra cup of coffee could come with added health benefits

    While many consumers worry about their coffee intake, recent studies have found that the popular morning beverage could come with countless health benefits, including fighting obesity.

    Now, researchers at Anglia Ruskin University have found that having two to three cups of coffee per day could help women keep off excess body fat. 

    “Our research suggests that there may be bioactive compounds in coffee other than caffeine that regulate weight which could potentially be used as antiobesity compounds,” said researcher Dr. Lee Smith. “It could be that coffee, or its effective ingredients, could be integrated into a healthy diet strategy to reduce the burden of chronic conditions related to the obesity epidemic.” 

    Health benefits of caffeine 

    To understand what health benefits consumers can reap from coffee, the researchers evaluated responses to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They looked specifically at how coffee consumption affected consumers’ trunk fat and overall body fat. 

    Overall, greater coffee consumption was linked with a reduction in body fat, but more significant changes were seen in women than in men. 

    The researchers learned that body fat was nearly three percent lower overall for women who drank two to three cups of coffee per day, but older women benefitted even more from the extra boost of caffeine. For those in the 45-69 year-old age group, having two to three coffees each day was linked with over four percent lower body fat, whereas for younger women, body fat was lowered by roughly 3.5 percent. 

    The study also found that it didn’t matter whether the participants drank decaf or fully caffeinated coffee, as the results remained consistent. 

    Because caffeine affects everyone differently, it’s important that consumers to know how much their bodies can handle before upping their coffee intake each day. However, for those that can manage adding an extra cup or two each day, coffee could help maintain a healthy weight. 

    While many consumers worry about their coffee intake, recent studies have found that the popular morning beverage could come with countless health benefits...
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    Drinking coffee could help prevent gallstones

    Researchers have discovered a new benefit of drinking the morning beverage

    Many consumers start their mornings with a cup of coffee. Though recent studies have presented both positive and negative outcomes for the revered beverage, a new study shows that coffee could actually help consumers prevent the onset of gallstones. 

    The researchers conducted an observational study of over 104,000 individuals to better understand how the popular morning drink was affecting their likelihood of symptomatic gallstone disease (GSD). 

    While heavy caffeine drinkers -- those who had at least six cups per day -- saw the greatest reduction in their likelihood of developing GSD at over 20 percent, the researchers learned that the benefits extend beyond just caffeine extremists. Those who upped their coffee intake by one extra cup per day were found to be at a reduced risk of developing gallstones. 

    The researchers also learned that genes can play a role in these instances, as those who were genetically predisposed to consume more caffeine were also less likely to develop gallstones. 

    How much coffee is too much coffee?

    While the study findings might lead some consumers to drink more coffee each day, a recent study showed that many consumers are unaware of how caffeine can affect their health. The researchers suggested that consumers who feel jittery or anxious after drinking coffee should pull back on their consumption as a precaution.

    In contrast to the gallstone study, the researchers found that consumers who drank more than six cups of coffee per day were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

    “In order to maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day -- based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” said researcher Elina Hyppönen said. “Knowing the limits of what’s good for you and what’s not is imperative. As with many things, it’s all about moderation; overindulge and your health will pay for it.”

    Many consumers start their mornings with a cup of coffee. Though recent studies have presented both positive and negative outcomes for the revered beverage...
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    California nixes rule requiring cancer warnings on coffee

    The decision overrides some findings which suggest that the beverage is dangerous

    After previously determining that coffee in the state should come with a cancer warning due to low levels of a carcinogenic chemical, California regulators have passed a new rule stating that the labels are not necessary.

    In response to the decision, the coffee industry applauded the efforts of regulators for purportedly easing the fears of consumers who enjoy the beverage.

    “It’s a great moment for the coffee industry and the billions of people around the world who enjoy their cup of joe every day,” said William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association. “In serving up the perfect blend of science and regulation, the State of California has moved to formally recognize that coffee should not carry a ‘cancer warning.’”

    Lawsuits, cancer warnings, and mixed findings

    The move away from cancer warnings on coffee sold in California began in 2018, when the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed that the state should reverse the ruling of a Los Angeles judge who had determined that the warnings were necessary.

    At the time, a nonprofit group called the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) had been pursuing a lawsuit against nearly 100 coffee companies in California because the beverage was found to contain traces of acrylamide, which is classified as a carcinogen.

    The group said that the chemical’s presence violated Proposition 65 -- a state regulation that governs toxicity standards in drinking water -- but detractors said that the connection was tenuous at best because of the extremely small amounts of acrylamide in coffee.

    “Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health,” Murray said in a statement at the time.

    While many consumers depend on coffee to get them moving in the morning, the available research on its safety can be described as mixed at best. Researchers have debated whether drinking coffee benefits or hurts heart health.

    After previously determining that coffee in the state should come with a cancer warning due to low levels of a carcinogenic chemical, California regulators...
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    Coffee found to be not so bad for arterial health

    Recent study findings suggest that drinking the beverage doesn’t cause arteries to stiffen

    Researchers from around the world have gone back and forth on the potential health benefits and risks of drinking coffee. Previous studies have suggested that drinking too much of the beverage can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, while others assert the exact opposite for certain volumes.

    Now, researchers from Queen Mary University of London say that drinking even excessive amounts of coffee do not negatively impact our hearts and cardiovascular systems as much as previously portrayed. Specifically, the team looked at the beverage’s impact on arterial health.

    "Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off from enjoying it. Whilst we can't prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn't as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest,” said Dr. Kenneth Fun, one of the study’s lead researchers.

    Arterial stiffness debunked, researchers say

    The study analyzed test results for over 8,000 consumers who underwent MRI scans for artery stiffness and also reported on their coffee drinking habits. Participants were divided into three groups -- those who drank less than one cup per day, those who drank between one and three cups per day, and those who drank more than three cups per day.

    The findings showed that even those that drank more than three cups of coffee per day did not have stiffer arteries than those who drank less than one cup per day. This was true even after adjusting for factors like age, gender, and other health metrics.

    The researchers hope their work may help assuage some of the concerns that consumers have about coffee. Professor Metin Avkiran, the associate medical director for the British Heart Foundation, points out that varying reports from the media and scientific community may have biased some people against drinking it.

    "Understanding the impact that coffee has on our heart and circulatory system is something that researchers and the media have had brewing for some time...There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn't,” he said.

    “This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries."

    The team’s full study was recently presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference.

    Researchers from around the world have gone back and forth on the potential health benefits and risks of drinking coffee. Previous studies have suggested t...
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    Drinking coffee linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

    The popular beverage was found to have some surprising health benefits

    Millions of people reach for the coffee pot first thing in the morning -- and continue to do so throughout the day -- to get a jolt of caffeine. While researchers have gone back and forth on whether the beverage is healthy or unhealthy, a new study could have consumers reaching for another cup.

    Researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute found that drinking coffee could help to protect consumers from developing both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

    “Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Donald Weaver. “But we wanted to investigate why that is -- which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline.”

    Beyond caffeine

    Dr. Weaver and his team began by testing the effects different blends of coffee -- dark roast, light roast, and decaffeinated dark roast -- have on the brain.

    The researchers found the strength of the coffee to be the same across all three blends, so they ruled out caffeine as the component behind the health benefits.

    Digging deeper into the chemical makeup of the beverage, the researchers discovered the properties of the compound phenylindane are what could be protecting coffee-drinkers from developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Produced during the roasting process, the compound was found to prevent beta amyloid and tau -- two proteins that are linked to the cognitive diseases -- from spreading.

    “It’s the first time anybody’s investigated how phenylindanes interact with the proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Ross Mancini. “The next step would be to investigate how beneficial these compounds are, and whether they have the ability to enter the bloodstream, or cross the blood-brain barrier.”

    Though the study’s findings were significant in showing that coffee can do more than just wake consumers up in the morning, the researchers did note that more research is required in this area, and coffee is certainly not a cure for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

    The ongoing coffee conflict

    For years, researchers have been searching for answers as to whether coffee is beneficial or detrimental to consumers’ health. The debate continues on, as the evidence seems to be ever-changing.

    Earlier this year, a consumer group -- the Council for Education and Research on Toxics -- sued the state of California for failing to warn consumers that the chemicals found in coffee should classify the beverage as a carcinogen.

    Though a judge initially ruled in favor of the consumer group in March, officials were changing their tunes by June. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) ruled that the acrylamide found in coffee -- the carcinogenic chemical -- was not enough to pose any harm to consumers. The agency was petitioning for California to reverse the initial ruling.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, researchers found that coffee can improve heart health, help consumers live longer, and reduce the risk of death.  

    While keeping up with the risks and benefits associated with drinking coffee can get overwhelming amidst many conflicting reports, ConsumerAffairs has logged findings on the subject here.

    Millions of people reach for the coffee pot first thing in the morning -- and continue to do so throughout the day -- to get a jolt of caffeine. While rese...
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    California may backtrack on cancer warning labels on coffee

    The ruling made in March could be rolled back

    This past March, a Los Angeles judge ruled in favor of a consumer group that demanded coffee companies in the state of California post cancer warnings to customers because of the chemical acrylamide that is used in the roasting process.

    Today, a public hearing will take place in Sacramento, and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed reversing the judge’s ruling on the coffee warning labels.

    Sam Delson, the spokesman for OEHHA, said he expects the hearing to be very well-attended, as representatives from both sides of the case have already requested extra time to speak.

    “Coffee is an extremely well-studied mixture of chemicals,” Delson said. “It’s the first time we’ve ruled on a complex mixture.”

    The judge’s ruling

    The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group, filed the initial lawsuit against nearly 100 coffee companies -- including Starbucks. The group claimed the coffee companies were violating a California law that requires warnings on a wide range of chemicals that can cause cancer -- in this case acrylamide, which is classified as a carcinogen.

    At the time of the ruling, coffee companies fought back, arguing that the extent that the chemical exists in coffee isn’t enough to be harmful. They claimed that not only is coffee considered to be a relatively healthy drink, but Proposition 65 -- The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act -- was not designed to regulate chemicals in such small amounts.

    “Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage,” said National Coffee Association CEO Bill Murray. “This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health.”

    Recent developments

    In June, the OEHHA argued that consuming levels of acrylamide that are present in coffee poses “no significant cancer risk” based on the latest research. The proposed regulations would keep the warning labels off of coffee served throughout the state.

    “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) -- the only Proposition 65 authoritative body to have evaluated coffee -- concluded that coffee consumption is not classifiable as to its overall carcinogenicity and is associated with reduced risk of certain cancers in humans,” the OEHHA said.

    This past March, a Los Angeles judge ruled in favor of a consumer group that demanded coffee companies in the state of California post cancer warnings to c...
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    Four cups of coffee daily may improve heart health

    A study of mice finds that caffeine can protect heart cells from damage and help them to repair

    A new study finds that drinking four cups of coffee daily could set off a sequence of internal events that could boost heart health, especially in older adults.

    Researchers from Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf, Germany found that caffeine levels equivalent to around four cups of coffee protected against heart damage in pre-diabetic, obese mice, and in aged mice.  

    The study of mice found that caffeine induced the movement of a regulatory protein called p27 into mitochondria, which set off certain physiological events that are crucial to enhancing the function of heart cells as well as helping in heart attack recovery.

    Reached in humans by drinking four cups of coffee

    The study authors found that p27 -- an enzyme that normally slows cell division -- promoted migration of endothelial cells into mitochondria, which ultimately helped to protect heart muscle cells from cell death. It also triggered the conversion of fibroblasts into cells containing contractile fibers.

    These tasks are vital to the repair of heart muscle following a heart attack, the researchers explained.  

    "Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine, one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle through the action of mitochondrial p27," said lead author Professor Judith Haendeler, adding that "enhancing mitochondrial p27 could serve as a potential therapeutic strategy not only in cardiovascular diseases but also in improving health span."

    "These results should lead to better strategies for protecting heart muscle from damage, including consideration of coffee consumption or caffeine as an additional dietary factor in the elderly population," Haendeler said.

    The study has been published in the journal PLOS Biology.

    A new study finds that drinking four cups of coffee daily could set off a sequence of internal events that could boost heart health, especially in older ad...
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