Large amounts of coffee may increase the risk of death, according to a new study that links the caffeinated beverage to a higher mortality rate.
Drinking more than 28 cups of coffee a week — about four per day — was linked to a 21 percent higher mortality rate in men and women of all ages, and a 50 percent higher mortality rate in people under 55 years old, according to a study of 40,000 people published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
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"There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine, and coffee specifically, with some reports suggesting toxicity and some even suggesting beneficial effects," co-author Carl Lavie, of the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, told U.S. News & World Report.
More than 60 percent of American adults say they drink coffee every day, consuming just more than three cups a day, according to the National Coffee Association.
Increased coffee consumption has been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure, the study said.
"We're not saying that coffee is the cause of death; we just noticed coffee is associated with increased risk of death," Lavie told the New York Daily News.
But contradicting evidence suggests that drinking coffee is actually good for us. A 2012 study of 400,000 adults ages 50 to 71 found that drinking three or more cups of coffee a day actually lowered the risk of death
from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.
Lavie suggests aiming for fewer cups of coffee a day, as the study found that drinking less than four over time didn’t show any health effects positive or negative.
"The low doses seem to be very safe," he said. "And that's still a fair amount of coffee."
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