Coffee and non communicable diseasesPrint this page
Extensive research has been conducted investigating the relationship between coffee consumption and specific health matters. A synopsis of the scientific information available for each specific health topic is highlighted below with more detailed information available in the respective Topic Overview sections of the Coffee & Health website.
Type 2 Diabetes
Studies in different populations have shown a statistically significant association between moderate coffee consumption and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Evidence suggests that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to consuming none or less than 2 cups a day37,38.
- In addition to this, a meta-analysis with systematic review showed that a further 5-10% reduction in risk could be achieved with every additional cup of coffee, up to 6-8 cups per day37.
- Six further epidemiological studies have since confirmed the negative association for coffee consumption in different populations39,40,41,42,43,44.
- At present, a plausible mechanism to explain this association is still lacking. Findings suggest that it is unlikely that caffeine is responsible for the effect, as studies with decaffeinated coffee have revealed similar results40,41,42.
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Coffee and Cardiovascular Health
Evidence suggests that moderate habitual coffee consumption is not associated with detrimental effects on cardiovascular health.
- Recent evidence suggests that there is no overall association between moderate coffee consumption and coronary heart disease (CHD)45.
- In addition, there does appear to be a small inverse association between coffee drinking and risk of stroke in women46.
- A new study47 suggests that drinking coffee, and tea, is associated inversely with all cause mortality, driven by a strong protection among those who drank more than 4 cups per day.
Extensive research has also been devoted to investigating associations between coffee consumption and key risk factors for cardiovascular disease:
- Blood pressure: most evidence suggests that regular consumption of caffeinated coffee has hardly any long term effect on blood pressure (approximately 2/1mmHg) and does not increase the risk of hypertension48.
- Cholesterol: coffee may have an impact on cholesterol, but this is dependent on the brewing method. The cholesterol raising components of coffee, cafestol and kahweol, are largely retained in the paper used to filter coffee but pass into the brew in Cafetière and boiled coffee49,50. Soluble coffee has virtually none of these cholesterol raising compounds.
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To date, many studies have evaluated the potential link between coffee drinking and the risk of developing cancer. Current scientific evidence suggests that moderate coffee drinking is not associated with an increased risk of cancer 51, 52 or an increased risk of dying from cancer52.
In 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published its most recent review into the scientific evidence related to coffee and cancer52. IARC classified coffee in Group 3 for agents ‘not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans’. This means that the extensive scientific literature does not show an association between coffee consumption and cancer.
The review, published in The Lancet Oncology, concluded that there is inadequate evidence to suggest a link between coffee consumption and cancer of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx, lung, larynx, ovary, stomach, oesophagus, kidney, colorectum, or childhood leukaemia. IARC also stated that data suggests that there is no association between coffee consumption and an increased risk of pancreas, breast and prostate cancers. Finally, IARC concluded that research suggest that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing liver and endometrial cancers.
Numerous research papers have been published evaluating the associations between coffee consumption and cancer, with the following conclusions:
- Coffee drinking is not linked to an increased risk of developing stomach53-55, pancreatic56,57, colon58,59, kidney60, prostate61,62, breast63,64, or skin65,66
- Research also suggests that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer of the liver67,68 and endometrium69,70.
Although some earlier studies suggested there may have been a potential link between coffee consumption, bladder71 and lung72 cancer, a 2016 international review of the most up-to-date scientific research concluded that there is inadequate evidence to suggest that coffee consumption is associated with bladder cancer, stating that other lifestyle factors such as smoking played a major role52.
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