Now here is some great news (for me), older adults who drank coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee. This all comes from a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and that it turn is part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP. Is this really true, well lets see.
If it is correct, then it is fantastic news because I drink gallons of the stuff.
“Drinking coffee linked to lower deaths” says the UK’s Telegraph, and in the details you find that you have a 10% chance of living longer. Ah no lets bypass all that. Here is the actual study itself : Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality, New England Journal of Medicine, 2012
So what did they actually do?
We examined the association of coffee drinking with subsequent total and cause-specific mortality among 229,119 men and 173,141 women in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study who were 50 to 71 years of age at baseline. Participants with cancer, heart disease, and stroke were excluded. Coffee consumption was assessed once at baseline.
What did they find?
During 5,148,760 person-years of follow-up between 1995 and 2008, a total of 33,731 men and 18,784 women died. In age-adjusted models, the risk of death was increased among coffee drinkers. However, coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, and, after adjustment for tobacco-smoking status and other potential confounders, there was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality.
So drinking coffee helps you live longer? Actually no, that is not their conclusion. You will read lots of media hype telling you that, but its not true (some get it right, many don’t)
In this large prospective study, coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality. Whether this was a causal or associational finding cannot be determined from our data.
Neal Freedman, the chap who did the study, makes this quite clear, he is quoted as saying … “Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes, although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.”.
So it is OK to drink because it does not appear to not have any adverse effects, but for all those that attempt to claim that it will enable you to live longer ….”Nope”.