Posted on May 18, 2020, 4 p.m.
That cuppa java, latte, and cappuccino are some of the most consumed drinks around the globe. But is it good for you? This world first study from the University of South Australia has clarified whether it is good for health using genetics to show that excessive coffee consumption can cause poor health.
The Australian Centre for Precision Health used data from over 300,000 patients in the UK BioBank to examine the connections between genetically instrumental habitual coffee consumption and a full range of diseases; the researchers found that too much coffee can increase the risk of arthropathy, obesity, and osteoarthritis.
6 cups of coffee per day was considered to be the upper limit of safe coffee consumption in earlier research. Understanding any risks associated with habitual coffee drinking could have a large implication on population health.
“Globally, we drink around three billion cups of coffee each day, so it makes sense to explore the pros and cons of this on our health," says genetic epidemiologist, UniSA's Professor Hyppönen.
"Typically, the effects of coffee consumption are investigated using an observational approach, where comparisons are made against non-coffee-drinkers. But this can deliver misleading results. In this study, we used a genetic approach -- called MR-PheWAS analysis -- to establish the true effects of coffee consumption against 1117 clinical conditions.”
"Reassuringly, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking is mostly safe. But it also showed that habitual coffee consumption increased the risks of three diseases: osteoarthritis, arthropathy and obesity, which can cause significant pain and suffering for individuals with these conditions."
The prevalence of these conditions in Australia and around the globe highlights just how important it is to determine the possible causes and influencers of the disease, according to the professor.
"Excess coffee consumption can lead to increased risks of certain diseases," Professor Hyppönen says. "For people with a family history of osteoarthritis or arthritis, or for those who are worried about developing these conditions, these results should act as a cautionary message.
"The body generally sends powerful messages with respect to coffee consumption, so it's imperative that individuals listen to these when consuming coffee. While these results are in many ways reassuring in terms of general coffee consumption, the message we should always remember is to consume coffee in moderation -- that's the best bet to enjoy your coffee and good health too."
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