The poor old coffee bean does come up for a severe beating every so often. A Women’s Petition Against Coffee in 1674 declared: “ …the Excessive Use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called Coffee has Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age.” In the Middle Ages coffee may have cleared your head but had disastrous effects on the male dangly bits. Of course, all this was before we invented blue diamonds.
However, some recent research will please the several cups of coffee brigade. A new study in the journal Diabetologia says your morning cup of heart starter may stave off type 2 diabetes.
The study combines three large US cohorts: 48,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), 47,000 women in NHS II, and 27,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. This adds up to more than 1.6 million person-years of follow-up.
Dietary assessments were done every four years, including details about coffee and tea intake. Patients were also asked to self-report a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. More than 7000 of them did.
The results? Coffee lovers, rejoice. The highest coffee consumers had the lowest diabetes risk. Those who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had a 37 percent lower risk for diabetes as compared to those who limited their intake to one cup per day.
Those who increased their daily coffee intake by one-and-a-half cups had an 11 percent lower risk of getting diabetes as compared to those who didn’t boost their java intake.
On the other side of the coffee cup, those who cut coffee intake by two cups per day had a 17 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.
In this study, one cup was just eight ounces of straight-up black, regular, caffeinated coffee – not decaf and no lattes, no cappuccinos, and not much milk and sugar.
However, you should also take note that coffee has been studied many times since 1674 and Dr De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, whose study involved 1063 pregnant women who never changed their caffeine consumption during pregnancy. What they found was women who consumed the equivalent of two or more cups of regular coffee or five 340 ml cans of caffeinated soft drink – were twice as likely to miscarry as pregnant women who avoided caffeine.
However, this study of 1063 pregnant women is also a very small percentage of women world-wide who drink coffee while they are pregnant.
However, two days after the shock-horror miscarriage item hit the world media, there was another report. Researchers now claim the much-demonized substance may fight cancer.
After studying more than 80,000 women, US and Australian experts found foods containing caffeine – such as coffee, tea, cola and chocolate – may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, the sixth-most common cause of cancer deaths among Australian women.
According to the researchers, caffeine was beneficial, but decaffeinated coffee showed no health benefit at all.
For reasons they cannot yet explain, the group also found the beneficial effect of caffeine was strongest for women who had never used oral contraceptives or postmenopausal replacement hormone therapy.
The researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing assessment of the well-being of 212,701 female registered nurses that began in 1976 when the nurses were aged 30-35.
Every two years, researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital checked up on the surviving women. After studying the nurses’ history, the researchers found only a very small association between smoking and mucinous tumours, a rare form of ovarian cancer. They also found no connection between alcohol consumption and ovarian cancer.
Oncologist Ian Olver, head of Cancer Council Australia, said, “It’s well worth looking into further,” and even coffee and chocolate couldn’t hurt and might even help. “My standard advice is everything in moderation,” he said.
The whole research really hangs on Professor Olver’s statement, “It’s well worth looking into further.” And research salaries and equipment costs money, and where does it come from? Make the biggest claims with the greatest amount of shock-horror and funding will be forthcoming. Mark my words, the chocolate manufacturers will jump on this like blowflies on a dead donkey.