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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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Caffeine helps fight memory loss, study finds

Researchers confirm that caffeine blocks a brain receptor that affects memory problems

Having that first cup of coffee in the morning can be a great way to start your day, but could it also help keep your memory sharp as you age? One recent study shows that maybe it can.

A multinational collaboration -- including researchers from France, Germany, and the United States – has found that caffeine can combat the effects of age-related memory impairment. This could point to another way to slow the decline of memory function in older consumers and those affected by cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s.

The researchers have confirmed that a certain receptor in the brain, called adenosine A2AR, is linked to memory impairments related to age. Following up on previous research, they were able to manipulate this receptor to induce a sort of “early aging” that led to the release of hormones related to stress and memory loss.

“This is part of a larger study initiated 4 years ago in which we identified the role of this receptor in stress, but we did not know whether its activation would be sufficient to trigger all the changes. We now found that by altering the amount of this receptor alone in neurons from hippocampus and cortex – memory related areas – is sufficient to induce a profile that we designate as ‘early-aging’ combining the memory loss and an increase in stress hormones in plasma (cortisol),” said Luisa Lopes, coordinator of the study.

Potential therapeutic target

In order to prevent the onset of early aging, the researchers tested a caffeine analogue on animal models. They found that caffeine blocked the receptor from acting properly, which in turn normalized the memory- and stress-related deficits that were created beforehand.

The researchers believe that their work could allow medical professionals a means of treating memory-related problems in older people and those affected cognitive disorders. Additionally, it has opened the door for further research on the causes of memory dysfunction.

“In elderly people, we know there is an increase of stress hormones that have an impact on memory. Our work supports the view that the precognitive effects of A2AR antagonists, namely caffeine, observed in Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive impairments may rely on this ability to counteract the loss of stress controlling mechanisms that occurs upon aging,” said researcher director David Blum.

“This is important not only to understand the fundamental changes that occur upon aging, but it also identifies the dysfunctions of the adenosine A2AR receptor as a key player in triggering these changes. And a very appealing therapeutic target,” added Lopes.

The full study has been published in Scientific Reports.

Having that first cup of coffee in the morning can be a great way to start your day, but could it also help keep your memory sharp as you age? One recent s...
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How coffee can improve your workout

Studies show that drinking a cup of coffee can improve your performance and mood at the gym

Coffee is perhaps best known for its ability to inject a little pep into an otherwise sluggish morning routine. But waking up with a cup of joe may have even more benefits for those who exercise in the morning.

Research shows that those who drink coffee before a workout experience a boost in performance.

The energy-imbuing elixir helps your mind and body work harder during a workout, says Heidi Skolnik, M.S., a sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc.

"Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, the heart, and possibly the 'center' that controls blood pressure," Skolnik told the Daily Burn.

She adds that coffee can also help you enjoy the workout more, since it can increase the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, which affects mood and pain receptors.

Studies have also found that pre-workout coffee drinkers consume 72 fewer calories later in the day and have an easier time resisting the urge to succumb to food cravings.

But before you decide to swing by the coffee shop on your way to the gym, be advised that timing can play a role in how coffee impacts your workout performance.

One hour before

Skolnik explains that drinking a cup of coffee about an hour before you hit the gym is optimal, as the body wastes no time putting the caffeine to work.

"Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes," Skolnik says.

But while coffee is a fluid, Skolnik emphasizes that a 250-300 mg cup of coffee isn’t enough fluid to get your body ready for a workout. In addition to drinking coffee, she recommends drinking at least seven to 12 ounces of water during the hour or two before your workout.

Indeed, staying hydrated is key -- and water is usually best. A recent study found that attempting to rehydrate with soft drinks may actually increase dehydration.

Coffee is perhaps best known for its ability to inject a little pep into an otherwise sluggish morning routine. But waking up with a cup of joe may have ev...
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European pressed coffee can cause health problems

The grounds that slip through can increase your "bad" cholesterol, expert warns

All coffee is not created equal. And it's not brewed equally either, which can lead to unexpected health risks, according to nutrition expert Eric Rimm of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Rimm is talking about European pressed coffee, which is gaining popularity among coffee lovers in the U.S. 

If you're not familiar with it, pressed coffee is made in -- what else? -- a press, a special glass pitcher. You put the ground coffee in the pitcher, pour in some boiling water, and then press a mesh plunger down to strain the grounds.

The catch is that, unlike other brewing methods, some coffee grounds can slip through and wind up in your cup. The problem with that is that coffee grounds contain oily substances, called diterpenes, that may raise your "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Not too much

Rimm recommends that if you become enamored with pressed coffee you shouldn't drink too much of it, preferably no more than four cups per day. He also recommends checking your cholesterol regularly to make sure your LDL stays under control.

In general, coffee is considered healthful. It has been associated with lower blood pressure, slower weight gain with age, and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, hearth disease, and neurological problems.

But even so, there are limits, Rimm says. For non-press coffee, he suggests holding your intake to no more than five cups per day.

All coffee is not created equal. And it's not brewed equally either, which can lead to unexpected health risks, according to nutrition expert Eric Rimm of ...
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Heavy coffee drinkers less likely to get MS

Six cups a day appears to reduce inflammatory response

Coffee drinkers, especially those who load up on the beverage each day, may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS).

That's the conclusion of research published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. The researchers say it has neuroprotective properties and can suppress the production of chemicals involved in the inflammatory response, which may explain their findings.

They say consuming a lot of coffee every day – around six cups--is linked to a reduced risk of MS. An accompanying editorial cautions that the link remains to be conclusively proven. However, the research is just the latest to suggest that coffee has some beneficial health effects.

Based on two studies

The research is based on two studies, one in the U.S. and the other in Sweden. The results showed that the risk of MS was consistently higher among people who drank fewer cups of coffee every day, and the results were virtually the same in both studies.

The more coffee that was consumed, the lower the risk of MS, the results showed.

It's just the latest study to find health benefits in coffee, which was thought to be a heart risk in 1970s research.

Coffee's health properties

Among the more recent research is the suggestion that coffee and cranberries help fight colon cancer; that coffee grounds contain 500 times the antioxidant properties of vitamin C; and that green coffee might even help you lose weight.

There was even a study released last year that was part of this latest finding.

Caffeine has only recently come to be viewed as potentially beneficial. In the past health experts were skeptical of the drug because of its tendency to temporarily increase the heart rate and elevate blood pressure.

Might not be the caffeine

But coffee's health benefits apparently extend beyond caffeine to the properties in the bean itself. A 2014 study by the National Cancer Institute found that even decaffeinated coffee may be good for the liver.

That's because coffee's health inducing qualities might not come from caffeine, but from something else. Researchers say some other chemical component of coffee, rather than caffeine, may be responsible for the fact that heavy coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from MS.

They say more research will be necessary to answer that question once and for all.

Coffee drinkers, especially those who load up on the beverage each day, may be less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS).That's the conclusion of ...
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"Coffee flour" enhances the health benefits of coffee

Ever wanted a caffeinated muffin? With coffee flour, it's possible

Buzz has been brewing lately over the health benefits of coffee. According to a recent Harvard study, those who drink three to five cups of java a day have a 15% lower chance of prematurely dying than non-drinkers.

To thank for this little perk? A chemical called chlorogenic acid (CGA) — an antioxidant that appears to modulate how quickly the body breaks down glucose. But since the process of roasting coffee beans reduces concentrations of CGA (from 50% to nearly 100%), coffee drinkers aren’t seeing the full benefit of coffee’s naturally high CGA levels.

One scientist, however, recently discovered a new method of roasting green coffee beans that retains CGA levels and enhances the health benefits of coffee. Through trial and error, Brandeis biophysicist Dan Perlman invented the process of "parbaking," which involves roasting the green coffee beans at a lower temperature and for less time.

Parbaked beans

The process of parbaking not only retains the concentration of CGA in the bean, it yields a flour. According to Perlman, this “coffee flour” can be used both as a food ingredient and a nutritional supplement.

Perlman’s newly patented process of creating coffee flour involves just barely roasting the bean (at around 300 degrees fahrenheit), then freezing it with liquid nitrogen and pulverizing it into a power.

“At the end of the process, you get a wheat-colored flour. Its taste is nutty, pleasant and mild," says Perlman, who also developed the "healthy fats" blend in the Smart Balance buttery spread.

Mixes into anything

The flour can then be used in countless ways, just not to make a cup of coffee. Perlman sees his coffee flour being blended with regular flours for baking, used in breakfast cereals and snack bars, and added to soups, juices, and nutritional drinks. And in doing so, you’ll be getting a caffeine boost, too.

"This flour contains 2.5 percent caffeine by weight,” Perlman tells Eater. “So if you were to put 4 grams of this into, say, a breakfast muffin, it would be the equivalent of drinking a cup of coffee."

Unlike a cup of coffee or an energy drink, however, the caffeine in coffee flour is absorbed gradually, says Perlman. So while it won't offer the instant kick of a shot of espresso, you will be able to experience a more sustained buzz throughout the day.

A similar — yet very different — product was launched last year. Also called CoffeeFlour, it's made from coffee cherry fruit instead of green coffee beans. But despite the product's publicity, Perlman says, "It may be difficult to convince people that it's a good idea to eat vegetable materials that have not been routinely consumed by humans over many decades."

Buzz has been brewing lately over the health benefits of coffee. According to a recent Harvard study, those who drink three to five cups of java a day have...
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Coffee and cranberries may fight colon cancer

Two independent studies conclude food properties could be powerful weapons

Two new studies suggest that a common food and common beverage could be powerful tools to fight colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has completed a large study. The results show that regular consumption of caffeinated coffee may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure.

Other researchers presenting findings at the American Chemical Society meeting this week say cranberries have been shown to shrink tumors in mice with colon cancer.

Four or more cups of coffee

The Dana-Farber study found that patients, all of them treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, had the greatest benefit if they consumed four or more cups of coffee a day, amounting to about 460 milligrams of caffeine.

These patients were 42% less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 33% less likely to die from cancer or any other cause. Two to three cups of coffee a day had a more modest benefit, while little protection was associated with one cup or less.

“We found that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of the cancer coming back and a significantly greater survival and chance of a cure,” said Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber.

He added that most recurrences happen within five years of treatment and are uncommon after that. In patients with stage III of the disease, the cancer has been found in the lymph nodes near the original tumor, but there are no signs of further metastasis. Fuchs said these patients have about a 35 percent chance of recurrence.

As encouraging as the results appear to be, Fuchs said he is hesitant to make recommendations to patients until the results are confirmed in other studies.

“If you are a coffee drinker and are being treated for colon cancer, don’t stop,” he said. “But if you’re not a coffee drinker and wondering whether to start, you should first discuss it with your physician.”


Colon cancer may offer a particularly good target for a dietary treatment, simply due to the anatomy of digestion, said Catherine Neto, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Cranberry extracts may also afford protection toward other cancers, but it seems reasonable to look at colon cancer,” she said. “Cranberry constituents and metabolites should be bioavailable to the colon as digestion proceeds.”

Neto and her team created three cranberry extracts and fed them to mice with colon cancer. After 20 weeks, the mice given the whole cranberry extract had about half the number of tumors as mice that received no cranberry in their chow. The remaining tumors in the cranberry-fed mice were also smaller. Plus, the cranberry extracts seemed to reduce the levels of inflammation markers in the mice.

“Basically, what we found was pretty encouraging. All preparations were effective to some degree, but the whole cranberry extract was the most effective,” said Neto. “There may be some synergy between polyphenol and non-polyphenol constituents.”

Neto said she is looking deeper into the cranberry to see if she can isolate individual components responsible for its anti-cancer properties. The fruit has also gotten the attention of medical researchers who credit it for helping to protect against urinary tract infections.

Two new studies suggest that a common food and common beverage could be powerful tools to fight colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in ...
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Toddlers downing coffee in Boston (and maybe elsewhere)

The results of a recent study came as a surprise to researchers

McDonald's used to be the worry when it came to our kids and what they were putting in their bodies, now Starbucks may be the next big target, at least in Boston. About one in seven two-year-olds in Boston drinks coffee, according to a recent study led by Boston Medical Center (BMC) that was published online recently in the Journal of Human Lactation.

"Our results show that many infants and toddlers in Boston -- and perhaps in the U.S. -- are being given coffee and that this could be associated with cultural practices," principal investigator Anne Merewood, director of the Breastfeeding Center at Boston Medical Center, said in a medical center news release.

Does anyone really want to spend the day with a toddler hyped up on caffeine? Some cultures apparently embrace it. Research showed that children in Australia, Cambodia and Ethiopia, between the ages of birth to 5 are given coffee.  Research noted that kids coming from Hispanic households also drank coffee at an early age.

Not much research

There hasn't been much research on coffee consumption of infants but what has been documented is children who were two and who drank coffee in between meals or at bedtime were three times more likely to be obese in kindergarten. The US has not provided guidelines on coffee consumption for children.

Using data from a study on infant weight gain and diet, the researchers looked at 315 mother-infant pairs to determine what and how much infants and toddlers were consuming. They examined everything a toddler would drink such as breast milk, formula, water and juice –  and were  shocked  to find out there was something they missed and that was coffee.

At one year, the rate of coffee consumption reported was 2.5 percent of children. At two years, that number increased to just above 15 percent, and the average daily consumption for these children was 1.09 ounces.

Other studies have shown what you would most likely suspect when children consumed caffeine. It made them depressed and a good number came down with diabetes. Naturally they had sleep problems, and there was a high incidence of substance abuse and obesity.

What wasn’t mentioned in the study but is a problem is that when children drink coffee it affects their teeth. Coffee is acidic. Acidic drinks can cause damage in the mouth by weakening teeth; this leads to a decline in tooth enamel and an increase in cavities. Children are more prone to cavities than adults, as it takes years for new enamel to harden after baby teeth have been lost and adult teeth have come in. 

McDonald's used to be the worry when it came to our kids and what they were putting in their bodies, now Starbucks may be the next big target, at least in ...
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K-Cup inventor regrets his creation

"Kind of expensive" and bad for the environment, too

The Keurig Green Mountain company has lost a lot of popularity lately. And now even its inventor says he's sometimes sorry he ever came up with the idea.

Last year Keurig unveiled a second-generation version of its hot-drink-brewing machines outfitted with a form of “digital rights management” restriction more suitable for proprietary software than everyday appliances: Henceforth, instead of brewing coffee, cocoa and other hot drinks from any properly sized K-cup, as Keurig machines originally did, Keurig 2.0 would only work with properly branded proprietary K-cups.

The plan backfired spectacularly. Keurig fans who bought new machines were angry to learn their old K-cups no longer worked. And, even though the company's DRM restrictions proved ridiculously easy to circumvent (the new machines only work in the presence of an officially branded new K-cup label—but a single label can be re-used almost indefinitely), many former Keurig owners were opposed to Keurig 2.0 machines on general principles.

Second thoughts

So bad has it become that even the inventor of the K-cup has climbed aboard the anti-Keurig bandwagon — though more from stated environmental concerns than any opposition to Keurig's DRM.

John Sylvan, who invented the K-cup as a twentysomething back in the 1990s, told The Atlantic this week that he had some regrets about his invention: “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”

Since brewing coffee in K-cups is vastly more expensive than making the same amount of drip coffee at home, Sylvan figured the single-serve K-cup machines would only ever be used in offices, not in homes.

Wrong. Today, up to one in three American kitchens has a single-serve Keurig or Keurig-style coffee machine –and, although re-usable, refillable coffee pods have been on the market for a couple of years now, as well as various (non-Keurig) brands of single-use pods made from biodegradable materials, the majority of Americans still use disposable plastic K-cups which overwhelmingly are discarded rather than recycled:

…. because the K-Cup is made of that plastic integrated with a filter, grounds, and plastic foil top, there is no easy way to separate the components for recycling. A Venn diagram would likely have little overlap between people who pay for the ultra-convenience of K-Cups and people who care enough to painstakingly disassemble said cups after use.

Still the Internet is littered with stories of personal revelation that pod accumulation can’t be a good thing. ... A commenter on another [food blog] site describes the unsettling experience of regularly walking to work in a financial district past a dumpster full of coffee pods every day. Even in Halifax, Nova Scotia, one of the few places that can recycle category #7 plastic, K-Cups are accumulating in quantities that alarm people who see the waste coming out of offices using the machines. ...

The massive popularity of Keurig machines did not make the K-cup's inventor a multi-millionaire; John Sylvan sold his share of Keurig in 1997 for $50,000. Nor does he use a Keurig himself, telling The Atlantic that: “They're kind of expensive to use ... plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”

The Keurig Green Mountain company has lost a lot of popularity lately. And now even its inventor says he's sometimes sorry he ever came up with the idea....
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Study: Coffee may reduce risks of multiple sclerosis

Beverage continues to be cited for positive health effects

For decades the health effects of America's favorite morning beverage have been the subject of debate.

In the early 1970s research suggested drinking coffee was bad for your heart. A couple of decades later researchers had come to the opposite conclusion.

The latest research project to weigh in on the subject suggests coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that often shows up in young adulthood.

“Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and our study shows that coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea that the drug may have protective effects for the brain,” said study author Dr. Ellen Mowry of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Mowry's work is actually the study of a study. She and her team looked at a Swedish study of 1,629 people with MS and 2,807 healthy people. They also examined a U.S. study of 1,159 people with MS and 1,172 healthy people.

The studies measured coffee consumption among persons with MS 1 and 5 years before MS symptoms began, comparing it to coffee consumption among people who did not have MS.

Six cups a day

The Swedish study found that people who drank at least 6 cups of coffee per day -- what you'd call heavy coffee drinkers -- had a better chance of avoiding the disease.

They reached that conclusion because people who didn't drink coffee at all appeared to have one-and-a-half times the risk of developing MS. The earlier in life you started drinking coffee, it seemed, the better. Drinking large amounts of coffee 5 or 10 years before symptoms typically start was similarly protective.

In the US study, a similar pattern appeared. People who didn’t drink coffee were also about one and a half times more likely to develop the disease than those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day in the year before symptoms started to develop the disease.

“Caffeine should be studied for its impact on relapses and long-term disability in MS as well,” said Mowry.

Evolving view of caffeine

Caffeine has only recently come to be viewed as potentially beneficial. In the past health experts were skeptical of the drug because of its tendency to temporarily increase the heart rate and elevate blood pressure.

But coffee's health benefits apparently extend beyond caffeine to the properties in the bean itself. A 2014 study by the National Cancer Institute found that even decaffeinated coffee may be good for the liver.

Previous studies have linked coffee consumption with a lower the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

"Our findings link total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels. These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health. Further studies are needed to identify these components," lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao said at the time.

Not all researchers agree that coffee is a heath beverage. A 2013 study at the University of South Carolina concluded that that drinking four cups a day raises your risk of dying prematurely if you're under 55.

But the researchers concede it might not have anything to do with what's in the coffee. Instead, they say coffee consumption could be related to other unhealthful activities, including heavy drinking and smoking.  

For decades the health effects of America's favorite morning beverage has been the subject of debate....
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Are you drinking mold with your coffee?

Mold and bacteria feel right at home in your home coffee brewer

I am a coffee aficionado. Love the stuff and get a headache if I don't have some in the morning. I even took my Keurig Coffee Maker to work with me and put...

Decaf coffee may be good for your liver

Something that's popular may actually be good for us

Drinking decaf coffee may be good for the liver. A new study finds that the benefits to the liver of drinking coffee apply regardless of whether the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated. 

In other words, say researchers from the National Cancer Institute, there's something in coffee other than caffeine that may help protect the liver by lowering abnormal enzymes.

Previous studies found that coffee consumption may help lower the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

 "Our findings link total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels. These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health. Further studies are needed to identify these components," said lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao.

Highly prevalent

This could be one of those rare cases where something that's extremely popular actually turns out to be good for us. 

It's hard to find something more popular than coffee, with more than half of all Americans over 18 drinking on average three cups each day according to a 2010 report from the National Coffee Association.

Moreover, the International Coffee Association reports that coffee consumption has increased 1% each year since the 1980s, increasing to 2% in recent years. 

Study details

For the present study researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study population included 27,793 participants, 20 years of age or older, who provided coffee intake in a 24-hour period. The team measured blood levels of several markers of liver function, including aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) to determine liver health.

Participants who reported drinking three or more cups of coffee per day had lower levels of ALT, AST, ALP and GGT compared to those not consuming any coffee. Researchers also found low levels of these liver enzymes in participants drinking only decaffeinated coffee.

Drinking decaf coffee maybe good for the liver. A new study finds that the benefits to the liver of drinking coffee apply regardless of whether the coffee ...
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What's really in that coffee you're drinking?

Would you believe wheat, barley, soybeans or starch?

This isn't a story about whether that double soy latte you ordered really has an extra squirt of espresso. It's about how much filler is in your cup. And we're not talking about chicory.

Coffee is becoming a scarce commodity, thanks to climate change and other factors, which makes it more expensive, which in turn gives coffee marketers an economic incentive to do whatever they can to stretch the supply with fillers.

Chicory, widely used in New Orleans and the Acadian parishes of Louisiana, was perhaps the original filler in the U.S. But the locals decided they liked the slight peppery taste it added to coffee and it's now looked upon as a condiment rather than a money-saver.

But for the rest of us, we'd like our coffee straight, thanks -- without corn, barley, wheat or other common fillers. This may be getting a little easier thanks to a new test that's being outlined this week at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Francisco.

95% accurate

"With our test, it is now possible to know with 95% accuracy if coffee is pure or has been tampered with, either with corn, barley, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, acai seed, brown sugar or starch syrup," said research team leader Suzana Lucy Nixdorf, Ph.D., of the State University of Londrina in Brazil

The problem, she explains, is that "after roasting and grinding the raw material, it becomes impossible to see any difference between grains of lower cost incorporated into the coffee, especially because of the dark color and oily texture of coffee."

Currently, tests to detect these unwanted additives require scientists to check the coffee, and those tests are subjective –– not quantitative, she says. With these tests, the scientists look at the coffee under a microscope or identify various additives by simply tasting the coffee.

In contrast, the new test uses liquid chromatography and statistical tools. This gives her team a much closer look at the ingredients in an unbiased way, according to Nixdorf. Chromatography is a powerful analytical technique that is very sensitive and highly selective.

Because much of the coffee is composed of carbohydrates, researchers could develop a "characteristic fingerprint" when using chromatography that separates out the real coffee compounds, says Nixdorf. The added, unwanted grain fillers generate different levels of sugars than the natural ingredients, so they are easy to identify, she explains.

The task is somewhat urgent, given the coffee crisis that is about to spring itself upon a somnolent world. A study from the U.K.'s Royal Botanic Gardens and the Environment found  that 70% of the world's coffee supply might disappear by 2080 because of conditions caused by climate change.

But shortages due to more immediate issues already are occurring. The coffee-rich country of Brazil typically produces 55 million bags of coffee each year. But according to some reports, the projected amount for 2014 will likely only reach 45 million bags after this January's extensive drought. That's about 42 billion fewer cups of coffee for this year.

This isn't a story about whether that double soy latte you ordered really has an extra squirt of espresso. It's about how much filler is in your cup. And w...
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Drinking a little more coffee may reduce diabetes risk

Harvard study is the latest to indicate coffee helps fight type 2 diabetes

There have been a number of studies in recent years indicating that Increasing daily coffee consumption may reduce type 2 diabetes risk. The latest comes from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), which found that people who increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who made no changes to their coffee consumption,

In addition, the study found that those who decreased their coffee consumption by more than a cup per day increased their type 2 diabetes risk by 17%.

"Our findings confirm those of previous studies that showed that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk," said Shilpa Bhupathiraju, lead author and research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. "Most importantly, they provide new evidence that changes in coffee consumption habit can affect type 2 diabetes risk in a relatively short period of time."

The study appears online in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes).

“Our findings confirm those of previous studies that showed that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk,” said Shilpa Bhupathiraju, lead author and research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. “Most importantly, they provide new evidence that changes in coffee consumption habit can affect type 2 diabetes risk in a relatively short period of time.”

But a colleague noted that coffee is far from the only factor affecting diabetes risk.

"These findings further demonstrate that, for most people, coffee may have health benefits," said Frank Hu, senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH. "But coffee is only one of many factors that influence diabetes risk. More importantly, individuals should watch their weight and be physically active."

Study details

The researchers analyzed data on caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and caffeinated tea consumption from 48,464 women in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-based Nurses' Health Study (1986-2006), 47,510 women in Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2007), and 27,759 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2006).

Participants' diets were evaluated every four years with a questionnaire, and those who self-reported type 2 diabetes filled out additional questionnaires. A total of 7,269 cases of type 2 diabetes were documented.

Results showed that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than one cup per day (median change=1.69 cups/day) over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent four years compared to those who made no changes in consumption. (A cup of coffee was defined as eight ounces, black, or with a small amount of milk and/or sugar.)

Those who lowered their daily coffee consumption by more than one cup (median change=2 cups/day) had a 17% higher risk for diabetes. Changes in decaffeinated coffee consumption and caffeinated tea consumption were not associated with changes in risk for type 2 diabetes.

There have been a number of studies in recent years indicating that Increasing daily coffee consumption may reduce type 2 diabetes risk. The latest comes f...
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Buy coffee now, before the price rises

Drought in Brazil damages major portion of world coffee crop

If you're one of those who needs a cup of coffee to kick-start your morning, you might want stockpile some now, before the price goes up: supplies are down due to a major drought in Brazil, which produces one-third of the world's coffee.

Actually, the price of coffee has already doubled compared to last year; it just that the full price increase hasn't trickled down to end consumers yet. That's because most coffee sellers buy and pay for their beans months or even years in advance.

For example: if you visit your local coffee shop today, there's a good chance you're still paying pre-drought prices, because that's what the shop actually paid for the beans. But that pre-drought supply is probably running low now. The next time your coffee shop orders beans it'll have to pay a lot more, and some of that increase is bound to be reflected in the price.

Still brewing

A similar rule applies to the coffee you make at home: the grocery store or coffee shop where you bought it probably paid a pre-drought price for the beans, but the next batch will cost far more.

If you are planning to lay in a supply of coffee for home use, remember that where long-term storage is concerned, whole beans are much better than pre-ground coffee because, all else being equal, whole beans stay fresh for a longer time.

Granted, you could point out, “If I were up to the task of grinding coffee beans first thing in the morning, I wouldn't need caffeine in the first place!” If necessary, you can grind the beans, load them in the filter and fill the coffeemaker with water just before you go to bed at night, so that next morning, all your semi-conscious self has to do is press the “Start” button on your coffee machine.

If you're one of those who needs a cup of coffee to kick-start your morning, you might want stockpile some now, before the price goes up: supplies are down...
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A single-serve coffee maker without the prepackaged coffee

The Scoop, from Hamilton Beach, is also environmentally friendly

Single-serve coffee makers made mornings much more pleasant for singles and for all consumers who want a cup of coffee at sometime during the day and don't want to make a full pot. They're especially popular in offices.

Keurig single-serve coffee makers, a wholy-owned subsidiary of Green Mountain Coffee, has been one of the more popular brands, with prices starting at around $100.

But using the Keurig and many of its competitors can be a bit pricy, since you're required to use disposable "Kcups" of premeasured coffee. While they are highly convenient – you just snap them in place, pour in a cup of water and brew – a box of eight Kcups can run $7 or $8.

Of course, you don't have to buy the prepackaged coffee. With a Keurig you can use an optional refillable cup instead, but we have found that on some models it's hard to keep grounds from clogging up the waterway.

Hamilton Beach is ffering a potential solution -- The Scoop, a single-serve coffee maker that does not use disposable Kcups. Instead, it has an easy-to-use refillable filter compartment where you put a scoop of your favorite coffee. Best of all, it retails for only $60. Watch a demonstration below.

The coffee maker appears to be fairly popular among environmentally conscious consumers who like the fact that everything is fully recyclable.

“Main reason I like this model is brewed coffee goes in me; grounds go in garden; and nothing goes to landfill, not even a paper filter, a consumer named CeeCee posted at Amazon.com.

For best results, all single-serve coffee makers should be cleaned regularly. Hamilton Beach says The Scoop should be cleaned at least once a month – once a week in areas with hard water.

Single serve coffee makers made mornings much more pleasant for singles and for all consumers who want a cup of coffee at sometime during the day and don't...
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Coffee consumption linked to early death in under-55 drinkers

New study contradicts findings that coffee may be beneficial

You can find all kinds of studies claiming beneficial effects from coffee but a new study finds that drinking four cups a day raises your risk of dying prematurely if you're under 55.

The findings come from a large-scale University of South Carolina study of 43,727 individuals aged 20 to 87. Researchers said they suspect excessive coffee consumption may somehow adversely affect the body’s metabolism.

"The exact mechanism between coffee and mortality still needs clarification. Coffee is high in caffeine, which has the potential to stimulate the release of epinephrine, inhibit insulin activity, and increase blood pressure," said Xuemei Sui, a co-author of the study.

The reason younger consumers are more at risk isn't clear but Sui said coffee consumption could be related to other unhealthful activities, including heavy drinking and smoking.

"Heavy coffee consumption behavior might cluster with other unhealthy behaviours such as sleeping late, and eating a poor diet," he said.

43,000 studied

The study, published online at Science Direct, used data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study representing 43,727 participants. Baseline data were collected by an in-person interview on the basis of a standardized questionnaires and a medical examination, including fasting blood chemistry analysis, anthropometry, blood pressure, electrocardiography, and a maximal graded exercise test.

There were 2,500 deaths during the 16-year study, about a third of them because of heart and artery disease. The study found that people who drank more coffee were also more likely to smoke and had less healthy hearts and lungs than other participants.

The risk of death from all causes rose by 56 per cent for men and women younger than 55 who drank more than 28 cups of coffee a week, according to a report in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

You can find all kinds of studies claiming beneficial effects from coffee but a new study finds that drinking four cups a day raises your risk of dying pre...
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Does green coffee really help you lose weight?

Health experts say better clinical trials are needed to provide proof

Coffee lovers enjoy the rich aroma and strong taste of a freshly roasted cup of java, but could we be missing out on some of the beverage's benefits?

Increasingly, health enthusiasts argue that the properties found in green coffee beans – beans that haven't been roasted – can help you lose weight, along with other health benefits.

TV's Doctor Oz may have popularized the belief last year when one of his shows extolled the virtues of green coffee. He called it “the green coffee bean that burns fat fast.”

Chlorogenic acid is a chemical found in coffee beans. Some scientists believe it affects how the human body processes blood sugar and regulates metabolism.

Neutralized by heat

Unfortunately, the process of roasting coffee beans, giving them their dark brown color and bold rich taste, reduces the amount of chlorogenic acid they contain. Some studies suggest that roasting reduces a coffee bean's fat-fighting properties as much as 90%. But drinking coffee made with unroasted beans doesn't sound very appetizing.

That's why a number of supplement makers have begun marketing green coffee extract (GCE) in pill form. Proponents say just a couple of these pills each day can help you slowly burn fat and shed pounds.

There have been a number of clinical trials in recent years that back this up. Researchers say the green, unroasted coffee bean has powerful antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-cancer and numerous other health benefits which improve your overall health along with burning unwanted fat.

What the experts say

What do health experts say? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is keeping an open mind but says the clinical trials it reviewed left a lot to be desired. While it found the results from these trials promising, it said the studies were poorly constructed with a high risk of bias. In other words, it questioned their reliability.

“More rigorous trials are needed to assess the usefulness of GCE as a weight loss tool,” the agency concluded.

The fat burning chemical can also be found in roasted coffee beans, but much of it is destroyed in the process of roasting. Its remaining presence has been found to have beneficial effects, though you would have to drink a lot of coffee – and consume large amounts of caffeine – to obtain them.

On the other hand, NIH concludes that evidence from animal studies continues to suggest that GCE does in fact have a helpful effect on weight gain. It says GCE may prove to be an inexpensive and effective way to help overweight adults from becoming obese.

Not exactly cheap

While GCE is less expensive than prescription medication, the pills aren't exactly cheap. A check online found that Green Coffee Ultra sells for just under $50 for a one-month supply. Some brands sell for less –between $20 and $30.

Besides a weight-loss aid, other studies have touted a wide range of health benefits from GCE. Earlier this year scientists at an American Chemical Society publication said coffee, in particular unroasted coffee, may also help prevent type 2 diabetes. But the researchers also pointed out that there are other natural sources of chologenic acid, including apples, cherries, plums, dried plums and other fruits and vegetables.

For consumers who want to try GCE, shop carefully. Competition among manufacturers has increased in recent months, resulting in a number of attractive promotions. Just make sure you understand what you are buying and avoid promotions that offer a “free sample” in exchange for a $2 shipping and handling fee, charged to your charge or debit card. These come-ons usually result in unauthorized charges.

As always, when adding a supplement or changing your diet, discuss it with your doctor first.

Coffee lovers enjoy the rich aroma and strong taste of a freshly roasted cup of java, but could we be missing out on some of the beverage's benefits?Incr...
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Green coffee beans can help control blood sugar and promote weight loss

Scientists say the findings could help in prevention of type 2 diabetes

Coffee does a lot of good things, starting with keeping us awake. But scientists at an American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans say coffee, especially unroasted coffee, may also help us prevent type 2 diabetes and even help us lose weight.

That's because coffee contains high leels of chlorogenic acids, a family of substances that occur naturally in apples, cherries, plums, dried plums and other fruits and vegetables. Roasting reduces the effectiveness of the substances but Joe Vinson, Ph.D., said the chlorogenics could be extracted and taken as a supplement.

“A simple natural pill or capsule that would both help control blood sugar and foster weight loss at the same time would be a major advance in the treatment of type 2 diabetes,” Vinson said. “Our own research and studies published by other scientists suggest that such a treatment may, indeed, exist. There is significant epidemiological and other evidence that coffee consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes."

“One large study indicated a 50 percent risk reduction for people who drank seven cups of coffee a day compared to those who drank only two cups a day," he said. "I am trying to make the coffee and diabetes story as clear as possible for the public. The evidence points to chlorogenic acids as the active ingredients in coffee that both prevent diabetes and improve glucose control in normal, pre-diabetic and diabetic people.”

Major health problem

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is an increasing global health problem. In the United States alone, almost 26 million have the disease.

Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, pointed out that coffee ― due to its popularity as a beverage ― is a major dietary source of these substances. Large amounts of chlorogenic acids exist in green, or unroasted, coffee beans but the high temperatures used in roasting breaks down much of the chlorogenic acids.

Thus, Vinson's focus has been on using concentrated extracts of green coffee beans, which contain higher amounts of chlorogenic acids.

In a previous study, Vinson found that overweight or obese people who took such an extract lost about 10 percent of their body weight in 22 weeks. A follow-up study involving 56 men and women found the coffee extract "produced a significant reduction in blood sugar relative to the original blank glucose challenge."

Vinson acknowledged funding from Applied Food Sciences, Inc., which markets a green coffee antioxidant product.

Coffee does a lot of good things, starting with keeping us awake. But scientists at an American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans say coffee, especia...
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Green tea, coffee may help lower stroke risk

This is a case where more really is better

Green tea and coffee may help lower your risk of having a stroke, especially when both are a regular part of your diet, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. In fact, the more you drink, the better off you may be.

"This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks," said Yoshihiro Kokubo, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.C.C., F.E.S.C., lead author of the study at Japan's National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center. "You may make a small but positive lifestyle change to help lower the risk of stroke by adding daily green tea to your diet."

Bottoms up

Researchers asked 83,269 Japanese adults about their green tea and coffee drinking habits, following them for an average 13 years. They found that the more green tea or coffee people drink, the lower their stroke risks.

People who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of stroke compared with those who rarely drank it.

People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14 percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20 percent lower risk than those who rarely drank it.

People who drank at least one cup of coffee or two cups of green tea daily had a 32 percent lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage, versus those who rarely drank either beverage. (Intracerebral hemorrhage happens when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds inside the brain. About 13 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.)

Participants in the study were 45 to 74 years old, almost evenly divided in gender, and were free from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

During the 13-years of follow-up, researchers reviewed participants' hospital medical records and death certificates, collecting data about heart disease, strokes and causes of death. They adjusted their findings to account for age, sex and lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, weight, diet and exercise.

Green tea drinkers in the study were more likely to exercise than non-drinkers.

Breaking new ground

Previous limited research has shown green tea's link to lower death risks from heart disease, but has only touched on its association with lower stroke risks. Other studies have shown inconsistent connections between coffee and stroke risks.

Initial study results showed that drinking more than two cups of coffee daily was linked to increasing coronary heart disease rates in age- and sex-adjusted analysis. But researchers didn't find the association after factoring in the effects of cigarette smoking -- underscoring smoking's negative health impact on heart and stroke health.

A typical cup of coffee or tea in Japan was approximately six ounces. "However, our self-reported data may be reasonably accurate, because nationwide annual health screenings produced similar results, and our validation study showed relatively high validity." Kokubo said. "The regular action of drinking tea, coffee, largely benefits cardiovascular health because it partly keeps blood clots from forming."

Tea and coffee are the most popular drinks in the world after water, suggesting that these results may apply in America and other countries.

Questions remain

It's unclear how green tea affects stroke risks. A compound group known as catechins may provide some protection. Catechins have an antioxidant anti-inflammatory effect, increasing plasma antioxidant capacity and anti-thrombogenic effects.

Some chemicals in coffee include chlorogenic acid, thus cutting stroke risks by lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Further research could clarify how the interaction between coffee and green tea might help further lower stroke risks, Kokubo said.

Green tea and coffee may help lower your risk of having a stroke, especially when both are a regular part of your diet, according to research published in ...
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Starbucks Stores Getting Smaller and Greener

The mega coffee chain opens its first walk-up and drive-through location with no lounge area.

Somewhere around the time that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain turned Seattle’s local Grunge scene into a full-fledged part of American music, another local scene was starting to take hold of the country.

The tradition of sitting in a coffee house spending hours and hours with a cup of Joe is as much a part of Seattle as its cloudy weather, and since the 1990s Starbucks has been the company that turned a local coffee drinking tradition into a national pastime of sorts, and today the ubiquitous chain is almost synonymous with the word coffee itself.

Consumers rate Starbucks

Starbucks is also synonymous with the word growth, as currently there are nearly 20,000 locations in over 60 countries around the globe, rivaling older chains like McDonald's and Subway in terms of having a consistent neighborhood presence.

But instead of only trying to grow more in size and making its coffee shops bigger with more spaces for both the customer and their laptops, the Washington State-based company is actually downsizing. Well, not in terms of the number of locations it will have, but in terms of the actual size of some of its coffee shops.

Greener and smaller

In recent days the company has opened up its first experimental green Starbucks location, but instead of being the usual beverage sipping hangout place, the new location is only a drive-through and walk-up window.

The president of global development for Starbucks, Arthur Rubinfeld, says he wants a portion of the company to return to the days when it was associated with being a community coffee house, as currently Starbucks is mainly known for being hot beverage making juggernauts only looking to expand in size.

“When I joined in ’92, we were under 100 stores,” Rubinfeld said in an interview. And we had an understanding that espresso-based beverages were on trend. We knew this from the loyalty of our customer base at the time, but our category-specialty-beverages was not in itself a business driver. At that point it was about establishing the American idea of the coffee house. Hundreds and hundreds of years old in Europe, it was mostly about community.”

The very look of the new Colorado Starbucks is likely to draw the eyes of curious consumers when they're driving or walking by. The structure resembles one of those brown wooden houses that stood in many suburban neighborhoods in the ‘70s and ‘80s before aluminum siding grew in popularity.

Although it certainly looks interesting enough, the structure also resembles a  boarded-up building, and if it wasn’t for that ever so familiar green Starbucks sign, neighborhood residents could possibly think it was some sort of failed business that had shut down.

And instead of putting a cozy lounge area inside so people can plug in their devices and camp out for a few hours, Starbucks is focusing on installing green items like LEED-certified drive-through signs.

No lounge

The location is also reported to be about 500 square feet, which holds just a couple of employees with no lounge or sitting area for customers.

Rubenfeld said that maintaining its community roots is crucial for the brand to stay truly connected to its vast customer base.

“Chicago is one of the early Starbucks entry points” he said. “When Starbucks entered in Chicago, it was at the core of office buildings on the way into work. Then it became more where you live work and play, and then it became the third place between home and office. The community connection point, the human interaction point that’s so critical.”

The new walk-up Starbucks is so small in size that it was delivered on a flatbed truck which should give you an idea of just how tiny this coffee shop is, and its designer Anthony Perez said he hopes this is only the beginning of companies rethinking their location designs and creating new structures with green components.

“What we’ve done is standardize the interior,” said Perez. “But what we want to be able to do is, as people are going around this prefab, we want the materials on that exterior to feel like it’s part of the local environment,” he said.

Somewhere around the time that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain turned Seattle’s local Grunge scene into a full-fledged part of American music, another lo...
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Coffee May Lower Skin Cancer Risk

Latest study to suggest coffee is a health food

It wasn't so long ago that coffee was considered harmful. Now, study after study touts its benefits.

The latest, published in the journal Cancer Research, suggests drinking more coffee could reduce your risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma.

Increasing the number of cups of caffeinated coffee you drink could lower your according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

This comes as good news to a nation of coffee-lovers. We analyzed more than 23 million postings to social media over the last year to see how consumers feel about coffee. Answer: They like it. The heady brew gets a solid 67% approval rating.

 Drink up

“Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma,” said Jiali Han, Ph.D., associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harvard School of Public Health.

Han makes clear that's no reason to begin drinking more coffee. If you don't drink coffee now, his data is no reason to start.

“However, our results add basal cell carcinoma to a list of conditions for which risk is decreased with increasing coffee consumption,” Han said. “This list includes conditions with serious negative health consequences such as type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.”

So, who knew coffee was a health drink? Studies three or four decades ago linked heavy coffee consumption to heart trouble and cancer. Now, it appears, coffee can help ward off at least one form of that disease.

According to our analysis, most people like coffee because of its taste, not its health benefits. On the other hand, those who dislike coffee also chose taste as their primary reason.

Skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma is the form of skin cancer most commonly diagnosed in the U.S. Even though it is slow-growing, it is associated with a high death rate and places a burden on health care system.

“Given the large number of newly diagnosed cases, daily dietary changes having any protective effect may have an impact on public health,” said Han.

Han and his colleagues based their findings on an analysis of two very large studies, plus 20 years of follow-up. They found that the more a subject drank coffee, the less their risk of basal cell carcinoma.

And unlike some previous studies, Han's research suggests it's the caffeine that protects against cancer. He said he saw reduced risks when subjects consumed caffeine from a variety of dietary sources, including tea, soft drinks and chocolate.

It's the caffeine

“These results really suggest that it is the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma associated with increasing coffee consumption,” said Han. “This would be consistent with published mouse data, which indicate caffeine can block skin tumor formation. However, more studies in different population cohorts and additional mechanistic studies will be needed before we can say this definitively.”

Neither coffee consumption nor caffeine intake seemed to have any impact on the two other forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease.

It wasn't so long ago that coffee was considered harmful. Now, study after study touts its benefits.The latest, published in the journal Cancer Research,...
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Regular, Moderate, Coffee Drinking May Reduce Heart Failure Risk

That morning cup of Joe might do more than get your eyes open; it could keep your heart pounding

If you're one of those folks who can’t face the day without a cup of coffee in the morning, here’s some good news for you. 

New research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation Heart Failure finds that people who drink coffee regularly in moderation could have a reduced risk of heart failure.

Researchers analyzing previous studies on the link between coffee consumption and heart failure found that moderate coffee drinking as part of a daily routine may be linked with a significantly lower risk of heart failure. In contrast, indulging excessively may be linked with an increased chance of developing serious heart problems. 

"While there is a commonly held belief that regular coffee consumption may be dangerous to heart health, our research suggests that the opposite may be true," said Murray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior study author and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. 

"We found that moderate consumption -- which we define as the equivalent of about two typical American coffee shop beverages -- may actually protect against heart failure by as much as 11 percent," he said. "On the other hand, excessive coffee drinking -- five to six commercial coffee house cups per day -- has no benefit and may even be dangerous. As with so many things, moderation appears to be the key here, too." 

Study specifics 

Researchers reviewed five high quality prospective studies of coffee consumption and heart failure risk published between 2001 and 2011. Combined, the studies included 6,522 heart failure events among 140,220 males and females. Four of the studies were conducted in Sweden and one in Finland. 

The study defines moderate consumption as four Northern European servings per day, the equivalent to about two typical 8-ounce American servings. Excessive coffee consumption is 10 Northern European servings per day, the equivalent to four or five coffees from popular American coffee restaurant chains (servings sizes vary from 9 to 20 fluid ounces per serving). 

Researchers didn't account for brew strength, but coffee is typically weaker in the United States than it is in Europe. They also didn't differentiate between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, but most of the coffee consumed in Sweden and Finland is caffeinated.

Variety of factors 

"There are many factors that play into a person's risk of heart failure, but moderate coffee consumption doesn't appear to be one of them," said Elizabeth Mostofsky, Sc.D., lead study author and research fellow at Beth Israel. 

"This is good news for coffee drinkers, of course, but it also may warrant changes to the current heart failure prevention guidelines, which suggest that coffee drinking may be risky for heart patients. It now appears that a couple of cups of coffee per day may actually help protect against heart failure." 

The American Heart Association recommends that heart failure patients consume only a moderate amount of caffeine -- no more than a cup or two of coffee or other caffeinated beverage a day. 

Unanswered questions 

Researchers didn't definitively say why coffee offers a heart-health benefit. But evidence suggests that frequent coffee drinkers develop a tolerance to the beverage's caffeine, which may put them at a decreased risk of developing high blood pressure. 

Habitual coffee consumption is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, with most studies showing the greatest reduction in risk with higher levels of coffee consumption. 

"Diabetes and hypertension are among the most important risk factors for heart failure, so it stands to reason that reducing one's odds of developing either of them, in turn, reduces one's chance of heart failure," Mittleman said.

New research suggests a little coffee might be good for your heart...
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Older Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Death

Study finds a link between coffee and lower death risk but can't explain it

Everybody knows that coffee can help you stay awake. Maybe it can also help you stay alive? That's the suggestion from a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP.

The researchers found that older adults who drank coffee -- caffeinated or decaffeinated -- had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee.

Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer. These results from a large study of older adults were observed after adjustment for the effects of other risk factors on mortality, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Researchers caution, however, that they can’t be sure whether these associations mean that drinking coffee actually makes people live longer. The results of the study were published in the May 17, 2012, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Neal Freedman, Ph.D., Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, and his colleagues examined the association between coffee drinking and risk of death in 400,000 U.S. men and women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Information about coffee intake was collected once by questionnaire at study entry in 1995-1996. The participants were followed until the date they died or Dec. 31, 2008, whichever came first.

The researchers found that the association between coffee and reduction in risk of death increased with the amount of coffee consumed. Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death. Coffee drinking was not associated with cancer mortality among women, but there was a slight and only marginally statistically significant association of heavier coffee intake with increased risk of cancer death among men.

Widely consumed

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes,’’ said Freedman. “Although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.”

The investigators caution that coffee intake was assessed by self-report at a single time point and therefore might not reflect long-term patterns of intake. Also, information was not available on how the coffee was prepared (espresso, boiled, filtered, etc.); the researchers consider it possible that preparation methods may affect the levels of any protective components in coffee.

“The mechanism by which coffee protects against risk of death -- if indeed the finding reflects a causal relationship -- is not clear, because coffee contains more than 1,000 compounds that might potentially affect health,’’ said Freedman. ``The most studied compound is caffeine, although our findings were similar in those who reported the majority of their coffee intake to be caffeinated or decaffeinated.”

Everybody knows that coffee can help you stay awake. Maybe it can also help you stay alive? That's the suggestion from a study by researchers from the...
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Starbucks Goes 'Blonde' In Pursuit of 'Lite' Crowd

Don't want too much coffee in your coffee? Here's the answer

Starbucks originally modeled itself on the coffee houses of Europe, trying to conjure a world where patrons linger for hours sipping espresso and debating the finer points of politics.

But in an America where political discussion consists of shouting slogans back and forth and coffee has become the base for foamy, sugar-filled concoctions that more closely resemble a chocolate shake than espresso, is it really surprising that even regular coffee must be lightened up to retain its appeal?  

And so, taking a page from competitors McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks is launching a new blonde roast.  It will launch in both Starbucks outlets and supermarket aisles in January and will be promoted through what Starbucks is calling a "360-degree" approach, meaning that Facebook, Twitter, etc., will be flooded with supposed coffee lovers gushing about the new blend.

Starbucks already does about as well with consumers as any sane person could reasonably expect.  A ConsumerAffairs.com computerized sentiment analysis of about 4.7 million consumer comments on Facebook, Twitter and other social media and blogs finds an approval rating hovering around 80% over the last year.  

Blue line indicates net sentiment

Speaking at a Chicago press conference, Annie Young-Scrivner, Starbucks Chief Marketing Officer, said 40% of the 130 million coffee drinkers in the U.S. prefer a lighter-roast coffee.  The new blend is aimed at them, as well as at the millions of onetime customers who had their first cup of Starbucks and announced it tasted like mud, or worse.

And just to build even more excitement, Ms. Young-Scrivner said the launch will be an even bigger investment than the launch of Via, Starbucks' instant-coffee, which dripped onto the scene in 2009. 

Blonde will come in two varieties: Veranda and Willow. Really.

So with all this fiddling around with the product line-up, is Starbucks responding to a huge groundswell of discontent?  We peered into our sentiment analysis matrix to find top likes and dislikes.

What we found may be what Ms. Young-Scrivner found: a solid 27% don't like the coffee.  Of course, 29% do like it but even so -- if you were running a coffee house and more than a quarter of your customers didn't like the coffee, wouldn't you think maybe you had a problem?

Interestingly, the Starbucks gift card (38% like it) is even more popular than the coffee, which might also be a little worrisome. 

So maybe the new blonde blend will do the trick but, then again, maybe American tastes are moving away from coffee.  We suspect Starbucks has thought of this and planned accordingly. 

You might recall that, as part of its 40th anniversary celebration, Starbucks unveiled a new logo, removing the "Starbucks Coffee" text and more prominently displaying its iconic siren (the kind that lures sailors to their fate, not the kind that clears traffic for fire engines). 

You have to wonder if someday you won't be able to get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. 


Sentiment analysis powered by NetBase

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Suit: Safeway's Kona Coffee Is Mostly Not From Kona

Class action charges supermarket misleads coffee consumers

Safeway advertises its Safeway Select Kona Blend coffee "as if Kona beans are the major portion of the Kona Blend," but they actually contain "only a very small portion of Kona beans," according to a federal class action, Courthouse News Service reports. 

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Chanee Thurston of Benicia, California, says that until this year, the Kona Blend labels did not disclose that any of the beans came from anywhere but the Kona region of Hawaii.

“This is a significant omission since the majority of the coffee beans in the Kona Blend Coffee are sourced from regions other than the Kona region of Hawaii,” the suit alleges.

The label now says that the “delicate and smooth flavors of our Kona beans combine in perfect harmony with our Latin American beans to create this fragrant cup.”

A dedicated purchaser of the disputed coffee since 2006, Ms. Thurston took as gospel Safeway's assertion that she would “revel in the unmatched taste of savory beans from Hawaii's big island” when, in fact, she was reveling mostly in the taste of savory beans from elsewhere.

Although the suit gives no indication that Ms. Thurston ever failed to revel in the blend, it asserts that she paid more for the Kona Blend because she thought it consisted mostly of Kona beans and that she and other consumers were deceived by Safeway into paying more than they would otherwise have been willing to pay.

The suit notes that Kona coffee is the name given to a variety of coffee cultivated only on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona districts of the island of Hawaii. The Kona districts are 22 miles long and 2 miles wide and annual production is small, causing the “high-end gourmet coffee” to be priced higher than lesser beans.

The suit seeks damages on behalf of all consumers who purchased the Safeway Select Kona Blend during the time in question.

Safeway advertises its Safeway Select Kona Blend coffee "as if Kona beans are the major portion of the Kona Blend," but they actually contain "only a very ...
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Folger, Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Prices Going Up

Starbucks also adjusting prices on a market-by-market basis

The cost of green – or “raw” – coffee keeps rising, and so do retail prices. The latest price hike comes from J.M. Smucker Co., which said it is raising the price of coffee sold under its Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts brands by 10 percent. That's on top of price increases last May and August.

Starbucks, which reported disappointing earnings last month, has said it is “adjusting” prices on a market-by-market basis.

Coffee prices for unroasted beans are at 13-year highs and have been rising steadily for the last two years.

The composite average price of green coffee last month was $1.97 per pound, the highest monthly figure since at least 2008, according to the International Coffee Organization. It's a 13-cent increase over December 2010.

The composite price includes Colombian Mild Arabicas, Other Mild Arabicas, Brazilian Natural Arabicas and Robustas.

Coffee production has been down slightly in recent months, partly because of bad weather, and supplies have also fallen, helping to drive prices higher. Demand, meanwhile, continues to rise, thanks to a surge in the number of coffee drinkers around the world, primarily in emerging economies.

Ironically, much of the new demand is coming from Brazil, the world's largest coffee producer. Coffee has always been a staple in Brazil but as the country's economy continues to surge, coffee consumption is rising steadily.

Brazil is expected to pass the United States as the world's largest coffee-consuming country in the near future, if it hasn't already, industry experts say. Coffee is also becoming more popular in China, as consumers there adopt more Western habits.  

Folger, Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Prices Going Up. Starbucks also adjusting prices on a market-by-market basis,...
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Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee Grinders Recalled

June 16, 2009
Starbucks is realling about 530,000 coffee bean grinders sold under the Starbucks Barista and Seattle's Best Coffee brand names.

The grinder can fail to turn off or can turn on unexpectedly, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

The firm has received 176 reports of grinders that failed to turn off or that turned on unexpectedly, including three reports of hand lacerations that occurred when the grinders turned on unexpectedly during cleaning.

This recall includes the Starbucks Barista Blade Grinders and Seattle's Best Coffee Blade Grinders with the following colors and SKU numbers:

BrandColorSKU #
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderStainless Steel171884
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderGreen195234
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderPink195235
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderOrange220623
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderTeal220624
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderCranberry242275
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderOlive344476
Starbucks Barista® Blade GrinderBlack454482
Seattles Best Coffee® Blade GrinderBrown Metallic474881

The grinders were sold at Starbucks and Seattle's Best Coffee stores nationwide from March 2002 through March 2009 for about $30. They were made in China.

Consumers should immediately stop using the coffee grinders and contact Starbucks to receive a free replacement grinder.

For additional information, contact Starbucks toll free at (866) 276-2950 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. MT or visit the company's Web site at www.starbucks.com

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee Grinders Recalled...
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Coffee May Cut Stroke Risk In Women

But not for coffee-drinkers who smoke

Go ahead, have that second, or even third, cup of coffee. Just don't have a cigarette while you're doing it.

A 24-year follow-up study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association finds that Long-term coffee consumption is associated with lower stroke risk in women who don't smoke.

Researchers also say regular coffee drinking may be associated with a modest reduction in stroke risk in nonsmoking women. The research, which used Nurses' Health Study data, found that compared with women who drank less than one cup of coffee a month, the risk of all types of stroke was:

• 20 percent less in women drinking four or more cups/day.
• 19 percent less in women drinking two to three cups/day.
• 12 percent less in women drinking coffee five to seven times a week.

Previous analyses -- including a 2006 report from the Nurses' Health Study -- raise the possibility that coffee may help protect against diabetes and does not appear to raise the risk of heart attack, researchers said.

However, the few studies on stroke had contradictory findings, said Esther Lopez-Garcia, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.

Researchers from Spain and Harvard Medical School in Boston analyzed the impact of coffee consumption on stroke risk over 24 years. The subjects were 83,076 women who began the study in 1980 with no history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

Every two to four years, the women completed food frequency questionnaires about their diet, including their consumption of coffee, tea, decaffeinated coffee and caffeinated soft drinks. Researchers used a woman's average coffee consumption from all available reports (prior to a stroke or death) for the analysis.

Between 1980 and 2004, 2,280 strokes were documented: 1,224 ischemic, caused by blockage of a blood vessel feeding brain tissue; 426 hemorrhagic, caused when a blood vessel feeding brain tissue bursts; and 630 of undetermined type.

To assess the role of coffee consumption, the researchers adjusted for several factors known to influence stroke risk, including age, smoking status, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake, menopausal status, use of hormone replacement therapy, use of aspirin and diet. This type of analysis can only account for known factors but cannot consider risk predictors as yet unidentified.

Among other findings, coffee was not associated with either raised or lowered stroke risk in the subgroups of women with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Researchers said women who drink a lot of coffee also tend to smoke. The difference between smokers and nonsmokers was noted:

• Among women who had never smoked or quit the habit, drinking four cups or more of coffee a day was associated with a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk.
• Among smokers, drinking four cups or more was associated with only a 3 percent reduction in risk.

"The potential benefits of coffee cannot counterbalance the detrimental effects smoking has on health," Lopez-Garcia said.

Other caffeinated beverages, such as tea and caffeinated soft drinks, as well decaffeinated coffee, were not associated with any change in stroke risk.

"This finding supports the hypothesis that components in coffee other than caffeine may be responsible for the potential beneficial effect of coffee on stroke risk," she said. "Antioxidants in coffee lower inflammation and improve blood vessel function."

While possibly good news for current coffee drinkers, the authors said their findings don't provide enough evidence to recommend that women start drinking coffee for its health benefits.

"I would also add that the beneficial effects of coffee can only be applied to healthy people," Lopez-Garcia said. "Anyone with health problems that can be worsened by coffee (insomnia, anxiety, hypertension or heart problems) should talk to their doctor about their specific risk."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States after diseases of the heart and cancer.

Coffee May Cut Stroke Risk In Women...
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The Most Expensive Coffee Isn't Necessarily the Best

Consumer Reports finds Eight O'Clock 100% Colombian coffee beats rivals

Eight OClock Coffee 100% Colombian at $6.28 per pound ranked number one in Consumer Reports tests of 19 ground coffees, besting Folgers, Maxwell House, and Starbucks -- Americas best-selling ground coffees.

A CR Best Buy, Eight OClock costs less than half the price of Gloria Jeans, Peets and other more expensive brands. CRs coffee experts deemed it a complex blend of earthy and fruity, with a bright, pleasing sourness -- a good thing in coffee parlance.

Starbucks Coffee Colombia Medium, $11.53 per pound, didnt even place among the top regular coffees and trailed among decafs. While the Regular rated Good, testers noted it had flaws such as burnt and bitter flavors, though milk and sugar may help.

Following Eight OClock and also ranking Very Good were two Midwest brews: Caribou Coffee Colombia Timana, at $11.76 per pound, and Kickapoo Coffee Organic Colombia, at $14.33 per pound. Both had fruity aromas and beat an array of larger players among regular coffees. But both come at a hefty price.

Other trendy brands fared less well. Bucks County Coffee Co. Colombia, from Langhorne, Penn., tasted only OK, and Peets Coffee Colombia from Berkeley, Calif., was burnt and bitter, despite costing $14 per pound.

Among decafs, Dunkin Donuts Dunkin Decaf, $10.25 per pound, Millstone Decaf 100% Colombian Medium Roast, $11.59 per pound, and Folgers Gourmet Selections Lively Colombian Decaf Medium Roast were the front runners. But even the best decaffeinated coffees couldnt match the best regular brews in CRs taste tests.

The full results of the coffee ratings are available in the March issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands February 3rd and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

You dont have to spend a lot to get a great cup of coffee, despite what some coffee snobs may tell you, said Bob Markovich, home and yard editor, Consumer Reports. Several of CRs top coffees could save you $25 to $75 each year over pricier brands even if you just drank one 6-ounce cup a day.

CRs testers focused on 100% Colombian -- a best selling bean -- for regular coffee. Most of the six decaffeinated coffees tested are a blend of different beans. Testers consider a great cup of Colombian to have lots of aroma and flavor, some floral notes and fruitiness, a touch of bitterness, and enough body to provide a feeling of fullness in the mouth. Woody, papery, or burnt tastes are off-notes.

Weeks of sipping and swirling confirmed that even 100% Colombian coffee and its Juan Valdez logo dont guarantee quality. CRs testers unearthed other surprises: Chock full oNuts and Maxwell House have pushed coffee thats heavenly and good to the last drop since 1932 and 1907, respectively. But off-notes, little complexity, and for Chock full oNuts, variable quality, put both behind Eight OClock.

How to choose

• Consider how you take it. Coffees judged Very Good taste fine black. Milk and sugar can improve a mediocre coffee, but not even cream is likely to help the lowest-scoring coffees.

• Choose a good coffeemaker. The best rated by CR reached the 195 degrees to 205 degrees F required to get the best from the beans and avoid a weak or bitter brew. A top Michael Graves model costs just $40.

• Consider grinding for fresher flavor. Even the best pre-ground coffee just cant beat the best fresh ground when it comes to taste. One top grinder from CRs January 09 report, the Mr. Coffee IDS77 costs only $20.

The Most Expensive Coffee Isn't Necessarily the Best...
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Coffee A Health Drink?

Perky Industry-Funded Research Says So; Others Not So Sure

Could your daily coffee fix actually be doing you some good? A study funded by the cocoa industry suggests it might, showing that the beverage is a significant source of antioxidants, which can protect the body from cancer.

The research, funded by the American Cocoa Research Institute, says coffee drinkers appear to have higher levels of antioxidants than those who dont drink the beverage. The findings were presented as a weekend conference of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC.

Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the findings were not surprising, but she cautioned that there's more to health than antioxidants. Most experts are looking beyond antioxidants to the combination of vitamins, minerals other nutrition in specific foods, she said.

Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close, said study leader Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton.

Both caffeinated and decaf versions appear to provide similar antioxidant levels, he added.

Study authors caution that their findings dont prove that drinking coffee is good for you, since they didnt make a determination about how many of the antioxidants from coffee are actually absorbed by the body. Researcher Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton also cautioned that coffee should be consumed in moderation. He said it is important to consume fresh fruit and vegetables, which are also good sources of antioxidants.

Unfortunately, consumers are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables, which are better for you from an overall nutritional point of view to their higher content of vitamins, minerals and fiber," he said.

Antioxidants help the body ward off harmful free radicals, which can damage cells and DNA. Studies have shown them to have a number of other health benefits, including protection against heart disease.

Vinson and his associates analyzed the antioxidant content of more than 100 different food items, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, oils and common beverages. The data was compared to an existing U.S. Department of Agriculture database on the contribution of each type of food item to the average estimated U.S. per capita consumption.

Coffee came out on top, on the combined basis of both antioxidants per serving size and frequency of consumption, Vinson said. Java easily outranked such popular antioxidant sources as tea, milk, chocolate and cranberries, he says.

Of all the foods and beverages studied, dates actually have the most antioxidants of all based solely on serving size, according to Vinson. But dates are not consumed at anywhere near the level of coffee.

Coffee has been linked to an increasing number of potential health benefits, including protection against liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinsons disease, according to some recently published studies.

In February, a team of Japanese researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that people who drank coffee daily, or nearly every day, had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank it. The protective effect occurred in people who drank one to two cups a day and increased at three to four cups.

Last year, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that drinking coffee cut the risk of developing the most common form of diabetes.

But theres also a downside: Java can make you jittery and cause stomach pains, while some studies have tied it to elevated blood pressure and heart rates. More research is needed, particularly human studies, to firmly establish its health benefits, Vinson said.

While the findings would seem to encourage people to go out and drink more coffee, Vinson emphasizes moderation. One to two cups a day appear to be beneficial, he says. If you dont like coffee, consider drinking black tea, which is the second most consumed antioxidant source in the U.S. diet, Vinson said.

Bananas, dry beans and corn placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Coffee A Health Drink?...
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Mr. Coffee Named in Scalding Lawsuit

Girl, 7, Suffered Severe Burns When Coffee Maker Malfunctioned

A Chicago lawsuit against Mr. Coffee and its manufacturer seeks unspecified damages for a Chicago-area child who was scalded by a defective coffee maker at the age of seven.

The suit charges that on January 20, 2004, a Mr. Coffee coffee maker in the family kitchen malfunctioned, spraying Andrea Hettel with scalding water and hot coffee grounds. The child suffered severe internal and external burns and faces a lifetime of medical costs and loss of income, the suit charges.

The suit names Mr. Coffee and its corporate parents, American Household Inc., and Sunbeam Products Inc. It charges that the company knew of the defects plaguing the coffee maker but did nothing to eliminate the defect or warn users of the hazard.

Mr. Coffee is also named in a Chicago consumer's lawsuit which alleges that the company sold millions of the machines even though it knew of design and manufacturing defects that could cause it to expel hot coffee, water and grounds.

Mr. Coffee Named in Scalding Lawsuit...
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Lawsuit Charges Mr. Coffee Knew of Problems

Company knew machines leaked hot water and coffee grounds, suit charges

A consumer lawsuit accuses Sunbeam Products of knowingly selling defective Mr. Coffee coffee makers to millions of consumers. Plaintiff Susan Wallis of DeKalb County, Ill., charges that each of three Mr. Coffee machines leaked hot water, coffee and grounds on her kitchen counter.

The suit, which seeks class action status, alleges that problems with the coffee makers became increasingly evident after Sunbeam closed the longtime Mr. Coffee plant in Cleveland and moved production to Matamoros, Mexico, leaving 390 Ohio workers without jobs.

Mr. Coffee introduced its first coffeemaker in 1972 and has held the #1 market position ever since. The company was acquired by Sunbeam in 1998.

In her lawsuit, Wallis charges that Mr. Coffee machines have inherent design and manufacturing defects.

For example, the suit says the removable reservoir on the coffee makers habitually leak water from the bottom of the machine, leaving water standing on the counter-top.

Likewise, the "Brewing Pause 'n Serve" feature, which supposedly allows a cup of coffee to be poured during brewing, prevents water from properly draining through the filter basket. As a result, water and coffee grounds can overflow from the basket, greatly increasing the risk that hot fluids will spill out.

In the suit, Ms. Wallis alleges that she bought her first Mr. Coffee coffee maker from a Wal-Mart in August 2003. The second time she used it, hot coffee and coffee grounds began overflowing from the top of the filter basket.

She sent Mr. Coffee an e-mail and received a response offering her a replacement unit. She accepted and, about a week later, the new unit arrived and a short time later, the same problem occurred with the replacement unit. A babysitter unplugged the leaking coffee maker and began cleaning up the spilled hot coffee and grounds.

Without being touched by the babysitter, the filter basket, which was overflowing with hot coffee, broke away from the coffee maker, expelling hot coffee and making the unit useless.

Ms. Wallis complained again and, again, was given a replacement unit. Almost immediately after she received the third unit, it exhibited the same problem. Ms. Wallis said she has since stopped using Mr. Coffee machines.

The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Coffee has continued to sell the coffee makers and representing them as safe and reliable while at the same time conducting a "secret warranty" campaign that offers replacement units and, sometimes, money for damages to some consumers but not others.

Ms. Wallis' suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Illinois consumers. Similar suits are pending in other states. It seeks appropriate compensatory and punative damages.

Lawsuit Charges Mr. Coffee Knew of Problems...
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