It’s Coffee Time


For some of us, enjoying a hot cup of Joe, or for most New Englanders an iced coffee even in winter, is the only way to start the day and get those morning juices flowing. Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world……….but is it good for you?

Early studies of coffee consumption suggested that it could actually lead to health problems and even increased death according to a large-scale study of coffee drinking between 1995 and 2008 on 50-71 year old’s (1). However, coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke as caffeine exhibits a shorter half-life and faster metabolism; nicotine doubles the rate at which the body depletes caffeine. Another interesting finding of the study was that coffee drinkers were also more likely to consume more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day, and they consumed more red meat. After adjustment for potential confounders, particularly smoking, the study showed significant inverse associations of coffee consumption with deaths from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, and diabetes to name a few. Unfortunately, there was no significant benefit with regards to most cancers, but no increased risks either. Current studies on coffee are also supportive for Alzheimer, Parkinson’s, dementia, gout and certain cancers such as endometrial CA.

For those of you that drink decaffeinated coffee similar associations were observed whether the participants drank predominately caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. However, there was no specific study for only decaffeinated coffee drinkers. There is also lack of data on how the coffee was prepared (espresso, boiled, filtered, etc…). However, experts suggest brewing it with a paper filter, because unfiltered coffee can contain compounds that raise levels of LDL which is associated with higher rates of death.

In general caffeine, which is a stimulant, is not generally considered part of a healthy lifestyle. However, coffee itself has other bioactive compounds such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory effects and insulin resistance which are beneficial. Soooooo with all that said, how much should we consume? Moderate coffee intake, about 2–5 cups a day is considered to be the most beneficial. But be advised not going overboard with added cream, sugar artificial flavoring etc...


1. Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. New England Journal of Medicine, 198(1), 50–50.
2. Three to four cups of coffee a day linked to longer life. ScienceDaily, November 22, 2017
3. A Review on Their Bioactivities and Pharmacological Properties. National Library of Medicine, 2019 Sep; 20(17): 4238. doi: 10.3390/ijms20174238