That morning cup of Joe is a daily, practically sacred ritual for many of us. A large body of research has confirmed that a coffee habit is perfectly fine for most people, and may even have some health benefits – from fighting to lowering the and
But is there too much of a good thing?
A published recently in suggests that when it comes to coffee, too much appears to be more than 28 cups per week, at least if you are under 55.
The researchers found that younger men who passed the 28-cup weekly threshold – which works out to about four cups per day – had a 56 percent increased risk of death from all causes. Younger women who were heavy coffee drinkers had a greater than two-fold increased mortality risk. A cup was defined as eight ounces of coffee.
"The older people, over 55, were not affected by these high amounts of coffee," study co-author Dr. Chip Lavie, a cardiologist at the in New Orleans, said in a video statement.
Now, these findings left us scratching our heads here at The Salt, where we've reported in the past on many of the health benefits linked with coffee drinking. Turns out, we are not alone.
"This result is surprising," , an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, told me via email, "because results from other cohort studies in U.S. men and women suggest that coffee consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of premature mortality."
In fact, van Dam's has found no increased risk of death from any cause in people who drank up to six eight-ounce cups of coffee per day. And last year, published in the suggested that people with a daily coffee habit had a lower risk of dying during the 14-year study period than those who abstained.
What's more, van Dam notes that recent studies have suggested that coffee consumption does not increase the risk of dying from heart disease, stroke or cancers – all major causes of death. That body of research, he tells us, is "reassuring."
So what accounts for the increased mortality seen among heavy coffee drinkers in the new study? The data set used provides clues.
Lavie and his colleagues looked at data for more than 40,000 people, ages 20 to 87, who were enrolled as part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, a long-term study conducted between 1971 and 2002. The researchers followed up with the participants for 17 years on average. But they were only asked about their coffee consumption once – so, as Lavie himself notes, we don't know how their coffee habits changed over time.
Another limiting factor: smoking. Heavy coffee drinkers in the study were more likely to be smokers – which makes sense, since the data were collected beginning more than 40 years ago. Van Dam thinks the research didn't do enough to control for smoking. In fact, as we've , lots of studies in the 1980s failed to control for the link between coffee drinking and smoking, which is one big reason why early research appeared to give coffee a bad rep. Evidence suggesting health benefits from coffee began to emerge only as studies separated the two habits.
So, what's the bottom line for coffee drinkers?
Lavie says his findings suggest that sipping two to three cups per day is pretty safe, and possibly beneficial. But Van Dam notes that if you're generally healthy (and not pregnant or nursing), the "totality of the evidence" suggests that four cups of Joe per day shouldn't be harmful.
But of course, don't forget to listen to your body.
"If people think they experience detrimental symptoms related to too much caffeine, such as difficulty sleeping or nervousness," says van Dam, "they should try reducing their intake."
The Kona Cowboy Coffee Company is proud to provide the finest coffee available for you to limit to two or three cups a day. You’ll get a great cup of Joe with PANIOLA 100% Kona Cowboy Coffee, grown on Hawaiian volcanoes and roasted in the Rocky Mountains … the one with no bitter aftertaste and no acidity. CAFÉ PINON de Nuevo Mexico is the Southwest’s favorite with pinion nuts and a perfect way to improve your coffee experience during the day. And our MOKA-JAVA is a medium dark roasted blend of Indonesian and Ethiopian coffees that just might be high octane! We also make COWBOY ACTION COFFEE, the Official Coffee of the Single Action Shooting Society! If you are a Chai drinker, you’ll love the Coconut Spiced Chai we bring in from Honolulu. The Kona Cowboy Coffee Company has updated our website with new prices, new products and more! Go to www.KonaCowboyCoffee.com and look at the coffees. Go to the “Chocolates” page and find our new Cowboy Coffee Choco-Drops, a coffee caramel smothered in milk chocolate and dusted in cocoa powder! We have new Mescalero Morning Cowboy Coffee Candles on our “Bath Products” page, too.
The purpose of this blog is to unite Kona coffee lovers and perhaps learn a little about coffee and all the benefits of coffee at the same time. Join up, become a member, comment and have fun! You can find the Kona Coffee Fiends group on Facebook and we’d appreciate it if Facebook users would “LIKE” the Kona Cowboy Coffee Company page at www.facebook.com/pages/Kona-Cowboy-Coffee-Company/222070817858553. Just copy and paste to your browser. You can also find us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/jackshuster. And on the web at www.KonaCowboyCoffee.com to order your gourmet coffee and coffee products.
You know you’re a coffee fiend when you've worn out the handle on your favorite mug! So enjoy your coffee, make it Kona, and remember, Kona is the home of the Hawaiian cowboy…and we had cowboys in Kona before there were cowboys in Texas!