Moderate dietary consumption (1.5 to 3.5 cups per day) of unsweetened or sugar-sweetened coffee is associated with a lower mortality risk, according to a paper published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, containing caffeine which is a central nervous system stimulant.
Previous observational studies have suggested an association between coffee intake and reduced mortality risk, but those studies did not distinguish between coffee consumed with sugar or artificial sweeteners and coffee consumed without.
In the new study, Southern Medical University researcher Chen Mao and colleagues used data from the U.K. Biobank to evaluate the associations of consumption of sugar-sweetened, artificially sweetened, and unsweetened coffee with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.
A total of 171,616 participants (mean age – 55.6 years) from the U.K. without cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline were asked several dietary and health behavior questions to determine coffee consumption habits.
The researchers found that during the 7-year follow up period, participants who drank any amount of unsweetened coffee were 16-21% less likely to die than participants who did not drink coffee.
They also found that participants who drank 1.5 to 3.5 daily cups of coffee sweetened with sugar were 29-31% less likely to die than participants who did not drink coffee.
The authors noted that adults who drank sugar-sweetened coffee added only about 1 teaspoon of sugar per cup of coffee on average.
However, the results were inconclusive for participants who used artificial sweeteners in their coffee.
“Based on the data, clinicians can tell their patients that there is no need for most coffee drinkers to eliminate the beverage from their diet but to be cautious about higher calorie specialty coffees,” the scientists said.
Dan Liu et al. Association of Sugar-Sweetened, Artificially Sweetened, and Unsweetened Coffee Consumption With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Large Prospective Cohort Study. Annals of Internal Medicine, published online May 31, 2022; doi: 10.7326/M21-2977
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