For more than a decade, the scientific evidence supporting coffee’s health benefits has been mounting. Coffee consumption has been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other ailments.
It’s also more than obvious that coffee is geroprotective, an anti-aging therapeutic.
As much as any scientific matter can ever be closed, the case for and against coffee is closed — except in California.
I’ve talked to established scientists who believe that coffee is so efficacious, government should actively encourage and even subsidize its consumption.
Don’t take their or my word for it, though. Instead, take a few hours and search the scientific journals using Google Scholar. I used the keywords coffee, morbidity, and mortality, but you can also look at coffee and specific health conditions.
What you will find is thousands of papers bolstering the case that coffee significantly reduces the incidence of all age-related diseases.
In humanitarian terms, that translates into millions of additional years of healthy life, often referred to by researchers as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). It also means lower personal, family, and government healthcare costs.
On the other hand, last week a judge in California ruled that under the state’s Proposition 65, coffee must have a cancer warning label because it contains acrylamide.
Acrylamide is on the Prop 65 list of compounds that might be carcinogenic.
In high enough doses, acrylamide might be carcinogenic. It is in mice.
I shouldn’t have to point out, however, that humans are not mice. There are many compounds that are bad for rodents but not people, and vice versa. If that weren’t the case, drugs could be approved based on preclinical animal trials.
Moreover, many important compounds are beneficial at low doses but detrimental at high doses.
Vitamin D at proper doses is a powerful geroprotector, reducing the incidence of nearly all age-related diseases. But overdosing at 40,000 units a day for months might cause kidney problems.
In fact, just about everything we take or eat falls into the category of substances with dose-dependent responses, including water.
So despite the fact that reasonable levels of acrylamide haven’t been shown to be carcinogenic in people, it looks like coffee in the Golden State will bear the stigma of a cancer warning label.
Given the level of craziness and junk food science in popular culture, it’s pretty safe to assume that these warnings will lower the consumption of coffee among the scientifically illiterate.
Ironically, we should expect an increase in cancer rates if these warning labels are mandated and heeded.
Take a very recent paper published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, which showed that up to five cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of cancer in Swedish women.
And this study isn’t an outlier. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer specifically cleared coffee of carcinogenic risks in 2016.
A meta-analysis by Chinese scientists published in Public Health Nutrition agreed that coffee reduces mortality from all causes, including cancers, but has slightly more benefits for women.
Incidentally, a meta-analysis is not a single study, which you should always be skeptical about. Rather, it is a scientific summary of the best existing evidence from numerous researchers.
The risk of diseases other than cancers — like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s — also drops with coffee consumption.
If you want to know more about foods, nutritional supplements, and biotech breakthroughs that can make you live longer and healthier, watch the free video series, “Riding the Gray Tsunami.” Candid interviews with four world-renowned experts show why it’s imperative for our economic survival to prolong healthy lifespans — and the medical “singularity” that is just around the corner.
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