Results show that death rates over a 13-year period among men and women who drank coffee decreased with a greater number of cups per day, up to six. The trend was seen for deaths from any cause, and from specific causes such as heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke and diabetes. This relationship, however, was not seen for those who died of cancer.
“We observed associations between coffee-drinking and a range of different causes of death, and across a number of different groups,” said lead author Neal Freedman, of the National Institutes of Health. “The effect was seen in both men and women, those of different body weights, and in both former and never smokers.”
The study showed an association, not a direct cause-effect relationship, between coffee and mortality rates.
Still, while high coffee consumption was previously thought to have adverse health effects, this study adds to the growing body of recent findings that show higher coffee consumption is not harmful, and in some cases may have health benefits, said Jeanine Genkinger, an epidemiology professor at the Columbia University School of Public Health in New York City, who was not involved in the research. Genkinger emphasized that the greatest benefits may come from black coffee â€” cream, sugar and additives may be detrimental to health.
The study will be published Thursday (May 17) in the New England Journal of Medicine.