How much coffee is too much?
If faced with the question, “How much coffee is too much?” many people would rephrase the question:
“Can you ever drink enough coffee?”
The answer, of course, is that how much coffee a person should drink is a completely individual matter. However, the science shows that the most profound clinical benefits of coffee, including living a longer life, don’t kick in until daily consumption hits the three-to-four cup per day level.
In general, the benefits start to drop off at five cups per day, and by day six, the law of declining marginal utility is in full effect.
A group of researchers decided to take on the ‘how much is too much’ issue by conducting a retrospective population-based study. The data was extrapolated from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. The team looked at roughly 40,000 subjects between the ages of 20 and 87. Results were published in Mayo Clinical Proceedings.
The results showed that 28 cups of coffee per week was the absolute threshold for healthy coffee consumption---at least in people under 55. The results were baffling.
What about all of the data from well-controlled, statistically rigorous studies showing that drinking coffee significantly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and even gout.
After re-checking their assumptions, the scientists looked more closely at the data, especially the data from the 1970’s. Their goal was to check for confounding factors, meaning things that might skew the data like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol excessively. Unfortunately the original data set was skewed with coffee drinkers, who also smoked cigarettes---but this confounding factor was not factored into the analysis.
Clearly by age 55, heavy smokers were already starting to die off. So it seems that coffee is beneficial across the board, though there are people who are not constitutionally suited to consume coffee. They are in the minority, but you know when you know. One thing, however, is 100% certain. Smoking cigarettes should be in the ‘never do this’ category.
Here’s to a lot of coffee drinking in 2017!