This is big news and great news for coffee drinkers! Researchers followed over 200,000 medical professionals for 20 years and found those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day had a 15% reduced risk of dying! This is amazing! Skip the cardio and healthy nutrition and just head to the coffee station??? Not so fast! If you want to read the full research, here it is in the Journal “Circulation”
Guess what, turns out it didn’t matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated! Say what? This is an awesome example of how you need to be very careful in drawing conclusions from research. Here are some possibilities as to why coffee drinkers had a 15% reduced risk of dying:
- There is some yet undiscovered compound in the coffee which is not removed by the decaffeination process that is responsible for the 15% reduced risk of dying. We know that coffee has anti-oxidants and diterpenes both of which have beneficial effects but nothing that can really account for the 15% reduced risk of death.
- Simply the act of taking the time to relax and drink a hot beverage gives you a 15% reduced risk of death.
Hmmm. Which is it? In science and engineering there is a truism that the simplest answer is usually the correct one. If you answer to why coffee makes you live longer includes terrorist plots and complicated government conspiracies it is unlikely that is the correct answer. Here is what Scooby says. Coffee is a multi-billion dollar industry with lots of clout. These coffee co-ops are looking all the time for marketing collateral to help them increase market share over colas, teas, and sports beverages and you can bet they have funded all kinds of research looking for positive benefits of coffee. If there was some chemical in coffee responsible for the 15% reduced risk of death they would have found it long ago and sold it to Pfizer for trillions of dollars to make a pill that makes you live longer. So yes, its possible that there is some beneficial chemical in the coffee that makes us live longer. Unlikely but surely possible.
On the other hand, we know that stress is one of the top killers in the developed world causing high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, depression, heart disease, and many other maladies. ANY kind of relaxing will make you live longer. Yoga, walking in the park, meditation, or simply daily coffee with friends. If you are sitting down to have a cup of decaf coffee you are clearly doing it for enjoyment, not the buzz. I am willing to bet that those who drink 3-5 cups of *any* hot beverage a day, including hot water, will experience this 15% reduced risk of death.
So anyway, be careful what conclusions you draw from research and PLEASE, read beyond the headlines! For example, if you have read to this point you are 1 in 100 because the other 99 people simply read my blog title “Coffee makes you live longer” and will start drinking more coffee in the possibly misguided attempt to reduce their risk of death. YOU on the other hand understand the issues here and know that what we really need is more research to understand exactly what it is about drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day that reduces your risk of death by 15%. Congratulations! You are the 1/100 who is going to make it :)