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Drinking up the latest on coffee*

June 17, 2008 |  2:57 pm

Drinking buckets of coffee a day — up to six cups — may reduce your risk of death from heart disease, if ever so slightly, according to a new report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Or not.

CoffeeAnalyzing data culled from 84,214 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1980 to 2004 and 41,736 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2004, researchers found that:

  • Women who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 25% lower risk of death from heart disease.
  • Women who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day had an 18% lower risk of death caused by something other than heart disease or cancer.
  • Men who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day had no change in risk.
  • There was no association between coffee and cancer deaths.

Interestingly, people who drank decaffeinated coffee had death rates similar to those who drank caffeinated coffee. This suggests that there may be some other factor at work — something unrelated to coffee that coffee drinkers share. [*Note, readers rightly pointed out that other constituents in the coffee could be responsible for the results.]

Among the women in the study:

  • 2,368 died of heart disease
  • 5,011 of cancer
  • 3,716 of another cause

Among the men:

  • 2,049 died of heart disease
  • 2,491 of cancer
  • 2,348 of another cause.

--Janet Cromley

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