Coffee for Health | Biolayne
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Coffee for Health

Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes
Poole et al. (2017)
Coffee for Health


What did they test? The authors conducted an umbrella review to synthesize the data on the associations between coffee consumption and a wide range of health outcomes.
What did they find? Coffee consumption is generally associated with more health benefits than risks, with optimal benefits observed at three to four cups per day for various outcomes, including reduced risk of mortality, certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic and liver conditions, and neurological health.
What does it mean for you? For most people, moderate coffee consumption can be part of a healthy diet, offering potential health benefits without significant risks, except in specific cases (eg: pregnancy)

What’s the Problem?

Coffee's place in our daily lives is ubiquitous, a staple in the morning routines of millions around the globe. Yet, its health implications remain a contentious topic, with studies swinging from extolling its potential health benefits to cautioning against its risks. This polarized view on coffee consumption has led to confusion among the public and health professionals alike, muddying the waters on whether coffee should be considered a healthful drink or a guilty indulgence. This confusion is further fuelled by the widespread availability of high-caffeine beverages (eg: energy drinks) as people often associate the adverse effects of very high caffeine consumption with the direct consumption of coffee.

Coffee for Health

However, what many do not take in consideration is coffee's complex chemical makeup. Coffee is more than just a source of caffeine; it's a brew teeming with over a thousand bioactive compounds, such as chlorogenic acids and diterpenes like cafestol and kahweol 1. These compounds are believed to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, and even anticancer properties, offering a plausible mechanism for the health associations observed in epidemiological studies 1.

Despite coffee's global popularity, some of coffee’s potential adverse effects are often highlighted more than the potential health benefits, often done so in a “fear mongering” sort of way 2. However, it’s important to note that not all coffee is created equal and the effects of coffee on our body can be affected by a plethora of factors, including the type of coffee bean (eg: Arabica vs. Robusta), the degree of roasting, brewing methods, and even individual differences in genetics and gut microbiome composition. These variables not only affect the bioavailability of coffee's compounds but also how these compounds interact with our bodies.

So the question remains: is coffee, on average, good for our health and what constitutes truly evidence-based guidance on coffee consumption? The variability in coffee's effects suggests that its health impacts may not be one-size-fits-all but instead depend on a myriad of factors, from genetic predispositions to lifestyle choices.

This is where this classic paper by Poole et al comes in the picture!

Purpose & Hypothesis

The aim of this review was to  synthesize the evidence from both observational and interventional studies on coffee consumption and a broad spectrum of health outcomes. The authors did not only aim to clarify the overall health effects of coffee but also to identify patterns of consumption that may optimize health benefits or mitigate potential risks.

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About the author

About Dr. Pak
Dr. Pak

Pak is the Chief Editor of REPS, an online coach and a researcher. Pak did his PhD at Solent University in the UK on “the minimum effective training dose for strength”. As a Researcher, Pak is a Visiting Scholar in Dr. Schoenfeld's Applied Muscle Development Lab in New York City. Pak's research focuses on all...[Continue]

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