April 2, 2023

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Is Coffee Healthy? It Could Prevent Early Death

Is Coffee Healthy? It Could Prevent Early Death

Compared with those who don’t drink coffee, adults who claim to consume a few cups of joe a day — either unsweetened or sweetened with a spoonful of sugar — were found to be less likely to die during a seven-year follow-up period, according to a study appearing in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study involved 171,616 adults in the United Kingdom who completed a survey about their coffee habits. Among them, 76 percent were coffee drinkers, and most consumed it unsweetened. About 14 percent of all participants sweetened their coffee by adding, on average, just over a teaspoon of sugar. Another 6 percent used artificial sweeteners. And about 24 percent of those who did not drink coffee were tea drinkers, according to the study. Participants were tracked an average of seven years, during which time 3,177, or 1.85 percent, died.

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“Our study found that adults who drank moderate amounts of coffee sweetened with sugar every day were about 30 percent less likely to die from any cause during the average seven-year follow-up period, compared to non-coffee drinkers,” study coauthor Dan Liu, M.D., a researcher at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, said in a video release.

What they found

On average, study participants were nearly 56 years old when they were recruited, between 2006 and 2010. In their analysis, researchers accounted for factors that may otherwise influence their risk of death, including diet, smoking, socioeconomic status, preexisting health problems and exposure to air pollution. The study found the following:​

  • Participants who drank any amount of unsweetened coffee were 16 to 21 percent less likely to die than subjects who did not drink coffee.
  • Those who drank 1.5 to 3.5 daily cups of coffee sweetened with sugar were 29 to 31 percent less likely to die than participants who did not drink coffee. ​
  • The benefit was found regardless of brewing method or whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated.​
  • The association, however, was not established for coffee taken with an artificial sweetener.