Editorial

Is coffee a health food?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A large scale study recently indicated that drinking one cup of coffee a day lowered the risk of death by 12 percent and two or three cups lowered the risk by 18 percent.

"We found that coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, from cancer, from stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and kidney disease," said Veronica Setiawan, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and a co-author of the research.

We are cautious regarding generalities drawn from such research. Sometimes a correlation between an activity and health is not a simple cause and effect relationship, but indicates that an activity is an indicator of a separate activity that is the actual cause of the health effects. For example, people who get regular exercise may be more likely than sedentary people to be regular drinkers of coffee. In that case, drinking more coffee while remaining sedentary will likely not have any positive effects.

Despite the words of caution, we welcome news that we can feel less guilty about one of our guilty pleasures.