June 2, 2022
People who drank a moderate amount of coffee every day, either plain or sweetened with around a teaspoon of sugar, were about 30% less likely to die from any cause during a seven-year period compared with non-coffee drinkers, according to findings from the U.K. Biobank cohort, an ongoing study of health information in the United Kingdom.
Results were less consistent for people who used artificial sweeteners in their coffee, reported Dr. Chen Mao, of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, and co-authors in Annals of Internal Medicine.
“Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of dying whether or not you added sugar,” said Dr. Christina Wee, deputy editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, who drinks coffee with cream and sugar regularly and enjoys it.
“The authors defined moderate levels of coffee drinking as drinking one and a half to three and a half cups of coffee,” she noted. “They found that drinking moderate levels of coffee regularly was associated with a lower risk of dying from any cause, dying from cancer, and dying from heart disease.”
The new research looked at the health effects of the popular beverage with a new twist, focusing on whether adding real or artificial sugar counteracted coffee’s potential health benefits.
However, the benefits of coffee are far from settled science, Wee noted. And this study doesn’t really answer what many Americans need to know, she observed.
“The average dose of added sugar per cup of sweetened coffee was only a little over a teaspoon, or about 4 grams,” she pointed out. “This is a far cry from the 15 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce cup of caramel macchiato at a popular U.S. coffee chain.”
“Although we cannot definitively conclude that drinking coffee reduces mortality risk, the totality of the evidence does not suggest a need for most coffee drinkers —particularly those who drink it with no or modest amounts of sugar— to eliminate coffee,” Wee wrote.
“So drink up,” she added, “but it would be prudent to avoid too many caramel macchiatos while more evidence brews.”
Research contact: @GMA