Here we go again. At least that’s what I thought when I read through the findings of a study sponsored by the NIH and AARP in the New England Journal of Medicine. Coffee has been the subject of many studies, the results of which are quickly published in mainstream media once the findings are made public. The findings are often not good, in terms of effects of drinking coffee on one’s health.
As a coffee drinker for the past 30 plus years, I have read through the roller coaster of study results tied to my personal morning beverage of choice, often discouraged but never quite convinced to give up my 2-cup a day habit.
This study was a bit different from others, both in size (400,000 participants) and what was being studied (the link between coffee–not caffeine–and mortality rates). Researchers also had to take into account that habitual coffee drinkers often had other bad habits that affected their health. (Not me.) “Coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, and, after adjustment for tobacco-smoking status and other potential confounders, there was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality.”
Read that again–”inverse association.” And here’s the kicker. For every cup of coffee sipped, the mortality rate nudged up a little bit more.
In conclusion,”In this large prospective study, coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality.”
Take a second or two to bask in that before you read the final sentence of the report summary.
“Whether this was a causal or associational finding cannot be determined from our data.”