Three coffees a day keep the doctor away

Man drinking coffee

GETTYCoffee drinkers may have healthier livers and better glucose control than non-coffee drinkers

Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gallstones, renal stones and gout.

Drinking moderate amounts of coffee - about three or four cups a day - is more likely to benefit our health than harm it, our latest research shows.

As such, researchers said that, excluding pregnancy and women at risk of fracture, "coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption".

GETTYThe reports came from the world's largest study into coffee
GETTYThe reports came from the world's largest study into coffee

To better understand the effects of coffee consumption on health, a team led by Dr Robin Poole, Specialist Registrar in Public Health at the University of Southampton, with collaborators from the University of Edinburgh, carried out an umbrella review of 201 studies that had aggregated data from observational research and 17 studies that had aggregated data from clinical trials across all countries and all settings. Coffee drinking is also associated with lower risk of some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia.

However, researchers said drinking it during pregnancy may be associated with harms, and may be linked to a very small increased risk of fractures in women. We found that there was a lower risk of both conditions in people who drank more coffee.

A research limitation was that much of the evidence was low quality and came from observational studies which may include residual confounding. But liver diseases stood out as having the greatest benefit compared with other conditions.

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People who guzzle three to four cups of coffee a day benefit most from the hot drink's health benefits, according to a new study.

Any versus no coffee consumption was associated with a 29% lower risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (relative risk 0.71, 95% CI 0.60-0.85), a 27% lower risk for liver fibrosis (odds ratio 0.73, 95% CI 0.56-0.94), and a 39% lower risk for liver cirrhosis (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.45-0.84), as well as a lower risk of cirrhosis with high versus low consumption (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.44-1.07).

There was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee but it had similar benefits for a number of outcomes.

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Numerous included studies may have adjusted for factors that may be associated with both the health outcome and with coffee drinking, such as smoking. The authors can therefore not rule out the effect of such factors on the apparent harmful or beneficial associations.

Commenting on the BMJ review, Eliseo Guallar, from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said there was still uncertainty about the effects of higher levels of coffee intake.

Finally, coffee is often consumed with products rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, "and these may independently contribute to adverse health outcomes", he added.

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"That said, our results suggest moderate coffee drinking - up to around three cups per day - is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits".

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