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New Study Corroborates Findings on the Positive Health Effects of Coffee Consumption

Coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and irregular heartbeats

Holden Galusha

Holden Galusha is the associate editor for Lab Manager. He was a freelance contributing writer for Lab Manager before being invited to join the team full-time. Previously, he was the...

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A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology corroborates findings that coffee consumption is associated with longer lifespans and lower rates of heart disease. These findings apply to instant, ground, and decaffeinated coffee, with some differences among the three varieties.

All 449,563 study participants had no cardiovascular diseases or irregular heartbeats, also known as arrhythmias. A little over half of the participants were female and had a median age of 58. All participants answered a questionnaire on their daily coffee consumption. Instant coffee was the most popular with 44 percent of participants preferring it, followed by 18 percent of them preferring ground and 15 percent preferring decaffeinated. The remaining 22 percent of participants did not drink caffeine.

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The results were then grouped into six categories: those who drank no coffee, less than one cup per day, one cup per day, two to three cups per day, four to five cups per day, and more than five cups per day. The outcomes of the participants’ lives were collected several years later, with a median follow-up time of 12.5 years. According to the news release, “coffee drinkers were compared to non-drinkers for the incidence of arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, and death after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, smoking status, and tea and alcohol consumption.” The results showed that all types of coffee were associated with decreased rate of death from any cause, with the consumption of two to three cups per day showing the greatest risk reduction. Compared to no coffee consumption, two to three cups of decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee displayed 14 percent, 27 percent, and 11 percent reductions, respectively.

Similarly, all coffee subtypes were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease with two to three cups a day showing the lowest risk. Notably, reduced risk of arrhythmia was only associated with ground and instant coffee, not decaffeinated, and the lowest risk was found with those who drank four to five cups a day of ground coffee.

Overall, these findings corroborate previous studies on the health effects of coffee. According to a 2021 news release published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “moderate coffee intake—about two to five cups a day—is linked to lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. It’s even possible that people who drink coffee can reduce their risk of early death.”

This new study is the latest addition to the growing body of literature demonstrating that coffee, in moderation, is healthy. The attitude toward coffee has shifted thanks to this research, as earlier studies of the effects of coffee painted a bleaker picture. Such studies suggested that coffee consumption contributed to health issues. For instance, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 1981 that showed a link between coffee consumption and pancreatic cancer, which elicited backlash from the public. However, the study’s design was later proven flawed. Subsequent research has consistently shown positive health effects.