Well-Being Longevity

Daily coffee drinkers have better chance at longer life span: report

New research suggests drinking moderate amounts of coffee each day is linked with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, even if the coffee is sugar-sweetened.
person holding coffee beans.
The Associated Press/ Rick Bowmer

Story at a glance

  • Previous research has linked coffee consumption with lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes, depression and other diseases.

  • To better distinguish the health effects of unsweetened, artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee, researchers assessed data from the U.K. Biobank.

  • Information from more than 170,000 individuals were included in the prospective cohort study.

Drinking a mug of coffee each day may have benefits beyond an energy boost, as new research shows moderate consumption of the beverage is associated with a longer life span.

Study findings were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, and are based on data from more than 170,000 healthy participants registered in the U.K. Biobank

At the time of enrollment, the mean participant age was 56, while individuals were followed from 2009 to 2018.

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Researchers analyzed consumption of both unsweetened, sugar-sweetened — with about a teaspoon of sugar — and artificially sweetened coffee and found consumers of unsweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee were around 30 percent less likely to die from any cause throughout the study window. Moderate consumption was defined as up to 3.5 cups a day. 

Whether the coffee was instant, ground or decaffeinated made no difference in the outcomes reported. 

“Previous observational studies have suggested an association between coffee intake and reduced risk for death, but these studies did not distinguish between coffee consumed with sugar or artificial sweeteners and coffee consumed without,” authors wrote.

Although no participants had cancer or cardiovascular disease at baseline, of the 3,177 deaths recorded, 1,725 were due to cancer and 628 due to cardiovascular disease. 

Lower mortality risks were also consistent after researchers took lifestyle, sociodemographic and clinical factors into account. However, links between lower mortality and consumption of artificially sweetened coffee were less consistent.

Because coffee consumption was only measured at baseline, any changes in consumption were not reflected in the data, marking a limitation. The majority of individuals included in the Biobank are also of white ethnicity.

Past research has pointed to additional health benefits of coffee consumption, including lower risks of type 2 diabetes, potential protection against liver disease and lower risks of depression.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming less than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, while an average cup of coffee contains around 80 to 100 milligrams. 

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