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Posted: June 24, 2008

Heavy Coffee Consumption Not a Health Risk, Study Finds

For more than 30 years, health researchers have produced conflicting studies when it comes to coffee. Some say it's bad for you, some say it’s not. A few have even suggested it might be good for you.


Now, there's a new study that comes down on the side of the beverage being harmless, whether it's caffeinated or not. Spanish researchers concluded that even drinking a lot of coffee -- up to six cups a day -- won't shorten your lifespan.


Dr. Esther Lopez-Garcia, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Autonoma University in Madrid, says she and her colleagues also believe coffee has some beneficial health qualities. In particular, they say, it might be good for women's hearts.


Their findings are published in the latest issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.


There is one, rather large caveat, however: The research team says heavy coffee consumption doesn't appear harmful, as long as the drinker is in relatively good health. Because of caffeine's short-term effect on blood pressure, the scientists say coffee might be problematic for some people with health problems.


The Spanish study focused on any links between coffee drinking and the risks of dying from heart disease, cancer, or any cause. As many as 84,000 women participated in the initial study, along with 42,000 men in a follow-up study. When the studies began, all participants were free of heart disease and cancer.


The study followed participants, collecting data every two years. The questionnaire was wide-ranging, including queries about general health conditions, as well as coffee consumption habits. The study followed the frequency of death from any cause, but especially fatal heart disease and cancer deaths due among people with different coffee-drinking habits.


When the numbers were crunched, women who drank two or three cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 25% lower risk of death from heart disease than non-drinkers. Women coffee drinkers also had an 18% lower death risk from all other causes, compared with non-coffee drinkers.


For men, coffee consumption of two to three cups a day didn't seem to have any health effects one way or the other.


The lower death rate in women was mainly due to a lower overall risk for heart disease deaths among women, the researchers said. The researchers said they found no link between coffee consumption and cancer deaths.


(Article courtesy of

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