Quantcast

Drinking Coffee Can Be Good for You, but a New Study Suggests There’s a Limit

Health + Wellness
grandriver / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In recent years, plenty of studies have suggested that drinking coffee can be good for you, and can even help you live longer. But coffee addicts take note: for the first time, researchers have identified the limit for how much coffee you can have before it puts your health at risk.



Drinking six or more cups of coffee per day may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and outweigh other benefits, researchers from the University of South Australia found in a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day — based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk," co-author Elina Hyppönen of the Australian Centre for Precision Health said in a press release.

The study examined the health records and diets from the UK Biobank of nearly 350,000 people between 37 and 73 years old, as well as which of the participants had a gene variant, CYP1A2, which allows those who possess it to metabolize caffeine faster than those who do not. The levels of coffee consumption were likely self-reported, according to The Takeout, which noted that many people don't consider that 16-ounce travel mugs count as more than one cup of coffee.

Participants who drank six or more cups of coffee were 22 percent more likely to develop heart disease compared with those who only had two cups at most per day, regardless of whether or not they possessed the CYP1A2 gene variant. The researchers indicated this could be because excess caffeine consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which often precedes heart disease. The World Health Organization lists cardiovascular disease as the leading global cause of death, despite its preventability.

But the researchers also found that those who preferred decaf or didn't drink any coffee weren't much better off. Compared to those with moderate daily coffee consumption, decaf drinkers had a 7 percent higher rate of heart disease and non-coffee drinkers had an 11 percent higher rate of heart disease.

This jibes with previous research suggesting that the antioxidants in coffee could reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes at the right levels of consumption, which might be around 400 mg per day, Health.com reported. In 2018, a German study also found that as much as four-to-five cups of espresso per day could improve heart health by making proteins in older blood vessel cells of mice and human tissues perform like younger ones.

The authors of this new study say that, as is often the case, moderation and knowing your limits is essential to your health.

"Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel jittery, irritable or perhaps even [nauseated] — that's because caffeine helps your body work faster and harder, but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached your limit for the time being," Hyppönen said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coral restoration in Guam. U.S. Pacific Fleet / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Erica Cirino

Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.

Read More
Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana. Jacob W. Frank / NPS / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.

Read More
Sponsored
Augusta National / Getty Images

By Bob Curley

  • The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
  • Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
  • The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.

McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.

Read More
Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More