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Go ahead and have another cuppa or eight: new meta-research shows coffee may boost longevity

The coffee run through the drive-through, and the lengthy pitstop at the local cafe or coffee franchise is as much a part of Toronto urban living as dining-out and vibrant night-life. A new meta-research study half-a-million British adults may be good news for Toronto urban coffee-drinkers — which is most of us according to stats. In Canada, 71% of adults 18-79 years-of-age drink coffee daily. [1]


Coffee in the speciality cafe is a Toronto urban ritual for many of us. It turns out it may be good for us.


This massive new 2018 study reinforces some previous studies that suggested coffee may boost longevity: a slightly lower risk of death over ten years versus coffee-abstainers.[2] So, for the coffee lovers out there, it’s probably good news. Have a cuppa, or even up to eight cups a day, according to this research — although not if you have a medical issue aggravated by caffeine (ask your doctor!). No, this isn’t a magic elixir of longevity; but it may be good news for coffee lovers. [Disclaimer below, especially if you have any medical conditions.]

Amongst almost a half-million people studied, coffee drinkers were 10-15 percent less likely to die than abstainers. Also according to this research, genetic variants and volume of coffee had negligible effects.


Coffee shops play a big role in business productivity. The meeting over coffee or the laptop in your neighbourhood cafe is popular in Toronto. 71% of Canadian adults drink coffee.


More than just a happy-feeling

As any coffee-drinker can attest, that first cup of coffee in the day just “makes you happy.” Happiness, certainly, helps reduce stress. Other studies have shown some cognitive benefits, benefits for diabetes, cancer, and various other benefits, but this new study focused on longevity. It didn’t matter — according to the study — if you drink ground, expresso, instant, decaf or caffeinated. It also didn’t matter if you drank two or eight cups a day, from the point-of-view of the longevity aspect.

The large study was published July 12, 2018, in JAMA Internal Medicine, with the lengthy title: Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism.

The key take-aways from the study — from the abstract — included:

  • “This study provides further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.”
  • This large prospective cohort study of a half million people found inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants drinking one up to 8 or more cups per day. No differences were observed in analyses that were stratified by genetic polymorphisms affecting caffeine metabolism.



Why is coffee good for some people?

While this study didn’t identify “why” coffee-drinkers lived longer in this study, one possibility is Antioxidants. One of the lead authors, Erikka Loftfield — who is a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute — indicated the secret might be in the antioxidants and other compounds which protect cells from damage. (Previous studies also liked coffee to benefits in cancer or preventing cancer.) According to the Coffee Association of Coffee:

“The amount of antioxidants in coffee is four times the antioxidant content of green tea, and surpasses that of cocoa, other herbal teas, red wine, and even some fruit and fresh vegetables. Studies also indicate that the level of antioxidants is similar in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.”

The Canadian Cancer Society states that drinking coffee may help protect against uterine cancer. And there is significant evidence showing that there is no association between coffee and pancreatic cancer.

Coffee and productivity

There’s a reason many companies cater in coffee to meetings. Other research has shown dramatic upticks in creative ideas and productivity during group meetings when coffee is available. The quick trip through the coffee drive-through is another boost to productivity for those who work on the road.


Coffee drive-throughs are a staple in nearly all urban and suburban neighbourhoods.


Details of the study

From the abstract:

  • The mean age of the participants was 57 years (range, 38-73 years); 271 019 (54%) were female, and 387 494 (78%) were coffee drinkers.
  • Over 10 years of follow-up, 14 225 deaths occurred.
  • Coffee drinking was inversely associated with all-cause mortality.
  • Using non–coffee drinkers as the reference group, HRs for drinking less than 1, 1, 2 to 3, 4 to 5, 6 to 7, and 8 or more cups per day were 0.94 (95% CI, 0.88-1.01), 0.92 (95% CI, 0.87-0.97), 0.88 (95% CI, 0.84-0.93), 0.88 (95% CI, 0.83-0.93), 0.84 (95% CI, 0.77-0.92), and 0.86 (95% CI, 0.77-0.95), respectively.
  • Similar associations were observed for instant, ground, and decaffeinated coffee, across common causes of death, and regardless of genetic caffeine metabolism score. For example, the HRs for 6 or more cups per day ranged from 0.70 (95% CI, 0.53-0.94) to 0.92 (95% CI, 0.78-1.10), with no evidence of effect modification across strata of caffeine metabolism score (P = .17 for heterogeneity).

“Conclusions and Relevance  Coffee drinking was inversely associated with mortality, including among those drinking 8 or more cups per day and those with genetic polymorphisms indicating slower or faster caffeine metabolism. These findings suggest the importance of noncaffeine constituents in the coffee-mortality association and provide further reassurance that coffee drinking can be a part of a healthy diet.”


[1] Research from Coffee Association of Canada.

[2] JAMA Internal Medicine, with the lengthy title: Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine


Although this is a serious study, is reporting only on available information. Always consult with your health professionals, especially if you have any medical conditions that can be aggravated by caffeine, such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, and so on.

Auberge on the Park-Tridel


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