Coffee drinkers, new research reinforces previous findings that your daily cup of joe may help you live longer – regardless of whether you add a bit of sugar.
Compared to non-coffee drinkers, regular consumers of unsweetened coffee were 16% to 21% less likely to die during a seven-year follow-up period, according to a new study in the May 31 edition of the peer-reviewed Annals of Internal Medicine. Those who added sugar and drank 1½-3½ cups daily of sweetened coffee were 29% to 31% less likely to die, researchers said.
Sweetened coffee drinkers among the 171,616 United Kingdom participants in the study added only one teaspoon of sugar, on average, researchers said. Drinkers of unsweetened coffee did not rely on any specific amount of coffee daily and consumed ground, instant or decaffeinated coffee, researchers said.
Researchers led by Dr. Chen Mao at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, analyzed data collected on participants in the U.K. Biobank, a large-scale database with genetic and health information of U.K. participants. None in the study had any known underlying heart disease or cancer at the outset of the study, which began in 2009 and tracked participants through 2018.
After accounting for other demographic and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that “moderate consumption of unsweetened coffee and that of sugar-sweetened coffee were associated with similar reductions in risk for death” from any cause, as well as heart disease and cancer, they wrote.
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Do you prefer artificial sweetener in your coffee? Findings were inconclusive for any protective effect of drinking coffee with artificial sweeteners, researchers said.
These results bolster previous findings that moderate coffee consumption can be good for your health. But other research has found that too much coffee – four or more cups daily – can increase health risks.
What’s a coffee drinker to make of the findings? “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,” wrote Annals of Internal Medicine deputy editor Dr. Christina Wee in a separate editorial in the journal.
So for now, she wrote, “drink up,” but beware of overly sugary coffee drinks such as caramel macchiatos “while more evidence brews.”
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Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.