Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Praise Of Coffee

Caption: Go here for an explanation of this cup's artwork.

Image credit: Cujo359

Apparently, it's safe to drink coffee again:

"What I tell patients is, if you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can," says Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. He's even developed a metric for monitoring your dosage: If you are having trouble sleeping, cut back on your last cup of the day. From there, he says, "If you drink that much, it's not going to do you any harm, and it might actually help you. A lot."

Officially, the American Medical Association recommends conservatively that "moderate tea or coffee drinking likely has no negative effect on health, as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle." That is a lackluster endorsement in light of so much recent glowing research.

The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like

Well, yes, next to that glowing review from the Institute for Coffee, that AMA endorsement seems downright noncommittal. Still, if you don't like what nutritionists are saying about something now, just wait a few years. It used to be that we had to be concerned about all sorts of things when we were ingesting our java. Now, apparently, folks think it does more good than harm. Must be all those extra ingredients besides caffeine:

[T]hat caffeine is [not the] only mechanism behind coffee's health effects is supported by a small study of 554 Japanese adults from October that looked at coffee and green tea drinking habits in relation to the bundle of risk factors for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes known together as metabolic syndrome. Only coffee -- not tea -- was associated with reduced risk, mostly because of dramatic reductions observed in serum triglyceride levels.

The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like

I usually stop at three, or is it six? If it's those little "cups" they mark on the sides of the coffee pots, I guess we mean six. Who knows? I'm just glad I don't have to worry about that anymore. Not that I did...

I'll caution that many of the studies quoted are small, or have a very select group of people in the sample. Correlation doesn't prove cause, particularly when the correlation is seen only in a small group of college students foolish enough to participate in a medical experiment.

As always, a healthy skepticism is in order.

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