Dark roast aficionados and overworked college students need not fear having a few cups of coffee a day, suggests a new study. Researchers from Germany report that people who drink coffee do not have any increased risk of chronic disease such as heart disease or cancer, compared to those who abstain from the beverage and they may even have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In a study of over 42,000 adults without a pre-existing chronic condition, researchers assessed participants coffee drinking habits, along with their diet, exercise, and general health. Over the course of nine years, the researchers assessed participants at two- to three-year intervals, paying special attention to indicators of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed no difference between coffee drinkers and non-drinkers in the rate of developing serious chronic diseases. The most significant difference, in fact, was that coffee drinkers were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, the most common form. When researchers controlled for factors such as weight and smoking, they found that people who drank four cups of coffee a day were 23 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank none.
ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross appreciates having this large (although observational) study to provide a clearer picture of coffee consumption in the wake of earlier studies that questioned its health effects. This report suggests that people who drink even fairly large amounts of coffee don t need to worry about reducing their consumption to ward off chronic illness, he observes.