Well not quite, but this scientific study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed the following:
Higher consumption of total coffee, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee was associated with lower risk of total mortality.
Specifically, those who drank between one to five cups of coffee per day were shown as having lower mortality rate. Thus my slight feeling of guilt regarding my consumption of coffee floats off into a distant realm; thank you Harvard School of Public Health! It even states that drinking in excess of five cups per day wasn’t associated with a rise in mortality rate.
This wasn’t a little study by the way, this actually involved over 200,000 people, and a staggering 4,690,072 person-years of follow ups, and what’s more, one of the authors of this study is called “Ming Ding”, and anyone with a name like that should be listened to in my opinion.
An interesting thing though from my perspective is that this study seems to show that it’s not necessarily the caffeine in the coffee which has the effect, as the people in the study were drinking decaf too. That was a bit of a surprise to me as I’ve always had the opinion that if you take the caffeine out of the coffee, it’s like taking the alcohol out of wine, in that all you’re left with is wine flavoured water, but actually it would appear that its other stuff in coffee that has a positive effect on the body. (By the way, I’ve recently tried a decaf from pact coffee, and it shocked me, I think my perception of decaf may have changed, as this actually tastes of coffee, and it tastes good! I’ll write another post about that).
Ming Ding (I am going to write his name as many times as I possibly can in this post as it’s one of the best names I’ve ever come across, even better than Edward woodward, and on a parr with someone I used to know by the name of Chris P Duck (seriously) refers “bioactive compounds” which would appear to ” reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation.”
My only criticism of this study though, is it’s not specific enough about the kind of coffee that people are drinking, as us coffee lovers understand, there isn’t just “coffee”, there’s instant coffee, espresso, drip filter, cafetière, and on top of that there is coffee grown in different climates, treated in different ways and so on, and what ever these “bioactive compounds” are, which Ming Ding refers to (which sounds like something from spider man or Xmen) I would assume that where the coffee is grown and how the beans are treated before they’re roasted, and how the coffee is made, will all have a difference. For example, if the good stuff in coffee is in the oils and coffee solids, then maybe in this regard espresso and cafetiere coffee is better for us than drip filter. Or maybe it’s the other way around, maybe these bioactive life extending compounds are so small that the molecules pass through any kind of filtering, and it’s only the kahweol and cafestol (which are perhaps the not so good stuff) that are filtered more with paper filters than processes which don’t filter, in which case drip filter would be better for us
I am going to try to get hold of Ming Ding, first of all to tell him what a cool name he has (and I’m sure he’s not heard that before…) and secondly to see if they asked the participants of the study what kind of coffee they were consuming.
By the way, if such a study did point at particular types of coffee being the ones that are better for us, I’m not saying I’d drink only that type of coffee, but still it would be good to know. The fact that it would appear that drinking 5 or so coffees a day is not a bad thing and may well be a good thing, that will do for me, but if I knew that for instance espresso seemed to be better, or instant, or cafetiere, then maybe when I’m in the mood for coffee in general but I’m easy about the format, I’ll go for the potentially healthiest option. Sometimes though I will just have an urge for an espresso, or a latte, or a cafetiere brewed coffee, in which cases I won’t give too much thought to which process may be more beneficial health-wise.
Just to add a disclaimer to this, drinking coffee will of course not make you immortal – I may seem daft adding such a disclaimer, but someone once allegedly (although it’s probably an urban legend) sued a recreational vehicle manufacturer for not making it clear that cruise control doesn’t mean the same as autopilot, and blamed them for the fact that the driver got up on a motorway (in America I would assume) and went in the back…