Drinking coffee could lower risk of death, study finds

Previous studies in the US, Europe and Asia have found a consistent link between coffee drinking and reduced deaths from all causes including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's disease and liver, bowel and womb cancer. The researchers found that the more cups of coffee people drank, the less likely they were to die during the study period.

Those who drank eight cups or more per day saw their death rates cut by 14 percent, and it was raised to 16 percent among those who drank six to seven cups. Dr. Tara Narula, cardiologist at Northwell Health, joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the findings. There are plenty of personal sensitivities to coffee and caffeine.

It didn't matter whether the coffee was decaf or regular, ground or instant - all were beneficial (though the connection to lower risk of death was weaker for instant coffee).

That doesn't mean people should dramatically up their coffee intake, though: There isn't enough data to change the guidelines to include more cups of coffee, Loftfield said.

Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was not part of the study, agreed. "But if they don't drink coffee, these findings don't say to start drinking it", Loftfield said. So, the benefit of drinking more than 8 cups of coffee over around 4 may be small. "People think of caffeine, but it's likely that some of the most beneficial compounds are not the caffeine".

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"We know that some people metabolize caffeine quite slowly and are less tolerant of the apparent physical affects of caffeine, which of course comes from many sources other than coffee".

But coffee drinkers in the study didn't have higher risks than non-drinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes.

"It's hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us". "But when the data were looked at more carefully, and more factors were controlled for, and more contemporary methods of producing the coffee and consuming the coffee were taken into consideration, it seems not only were those potential negative effects not corroborated, but it turns out that a lot of positive effects of coffee were identified".

The researchers (who, by the way, are federal scientists, not from anything like the Starbucks Institute for Coffee Research) say there is data on diet about some of the study participants that could be mined to parse apart the difference between people who have, say, cappuccinos or lattes or espressos. "It's the non-caffeine components that might be responsible for the association", she said.

"Participants drinking four or more cups per day, compared with those drinking less coffee and nondrinkers, were more likely to drink instant coffee and be current smokers, whereas participants drinking one to three cups per day were older, more likely to have a university degree, and more likely to report "excellent" health".

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