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   Sep 02

Are coffee’s health claims all froth – or will it leave you full of beans

Britons spend £730million per year on coffee

Coffee has been found to lower risk of diabetes and liver cancer
Study show drinking three cups a day reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s

Java fans: Brits spent £730million on coffee in 2012

Our passion for coffee knows no bounds. Coffee bars dominate the High Street and last year Britons spent £730 million on the beverage. But is it good for us?

Studies have led to claims that it might be instrumental in staving off prostate cancer, while others say it might pose risks to the heart.

We speak to the experts to find out…


SPILL THE BEANS Coffee has been consistently associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. A massive review looked at 18 studies involving half-a-million participants.
Each additional cup lowered the risk by a further seven per cent.

WHY It contains magnesium and chronium, necessary for regulating insulin, which controls blood sugar. High levels of antioxidants may also prevent tissue damage.

HOW MUCH A meta-analysis found that those who drank four to six cups daily had a 28 per cent reduced risk compared with those who drank fewer than two cups.
A 2006 study concluded that diabetes risk was reduced no matter what type of coffee was consumed.

EXPERT ‘This has the strongest evidence of all health claims,’ says Dr John Stanley, lecturer in biochemistry at Trinity College, Oxford University. ‘The consistency of the evidence is extraordinary.’


SPILL THE BEANS A study looking at almost 100,000 cases over 26 years showed a lower risk of death from oral cancer among coffee drinkers. The more coffee consumed, the lower the risk.

WHY It is thought that the antioxidant compounds in coffee may have anti-cancerous effects.

EXPERT ‘In order to prove this theory, there needs to have been studies showing the same result around the world,’ says Dr Stanley. ‘Oral cancer risk factors are alcohol and smoking,’ says dietician Dr Sarah Schenker. ‘This isn’t proof of protection.’

Healthy cuppa: Several studies have found coffee to have health benefits and help stave off cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s


SPILL THE BEANS Coffee drinkers have a 40 per cent lower risk of developing liver cancer and an 80 per cent lower risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis.

WHY High levels of the enzyme GGT are indicative of decreased liver function. Studies show that antioxidants in coffee appear to reduce levels of this enzyme. A 2006 study suggested that non-coffee drinkers with chronic liver disease ought to start consuming the beverage.

HOW MUCH Those who drink four cups a day are 80 per cent less likely to develop cirrhosis.

EXPERT Andrew Langford, chief executive of the Liver Trust, says: ‘If I had alcohol-related liver disease, I’d be drinking five coffees a day.’


SPILL THE BEANS A study this year showed that an energy drink containing caffeine enhanced the performances of those taking part in a cycling time-trial.

WHY It may have an effect on the part of the central nervous system related to the sensation of effort. Even one mug will have an effect.

EXPERT ‘Consuming coffee will give you a small boost,’ says Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at Bristol University.

Countering cirrhosis: Coffee drinkers have an 80 per cent lower risk of developing alcohol-related liver cirrhosis


SPILL THE BEANS A US study said men drinking more than four cups a day had a 59 per cent reduced risk of the cancer recurring. A Swedish study showed men drinking more than six cups a day were 19 per cent less likely to develop this type of cancer.

WHY Coffee may boost levels of adiponectin, a protein shown to stop malignant cells flourishing. Obese people tend to have lower levels of this protein – increasing levels may be most beneficial to overweight men.

EXPERT ‘Other studies have shown no link,’ says consultant urologist Marc Laniado at Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot.


SPILL THE BEANS A 2012 study showed that drinking three cups a day reduced the risk. Researchers even suggested that those in their late-30s might benefit from starting to drink three cups a day.

WHY Coffee appears to decrease abnormal levels of the protein beta-amyloid, which accumulates in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s.

HOW MUCH Three cups of filtered or instant caffeinated coffee a day.

EXPERT ‘There is a cluster of brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke, where it is clear – for sound biochemical reasons – that caffeine antagonises effects of adenosine,’ says Dr Stanley. ‘This is turning into a branch of pharmacology – how we design drugs. One trial is looking at the effects of caffeine on the motor aspects of Parkinson’s.’


SPILL THE BEANS Staff at the Harvard School of Public Health studied 50,000 women over 24 years. Those who regularly drank four or more cups a day had a 20 per cent lower risk of developing depression. A study in Finland showed that men who drank a lot of coffee were less likely to commit suicide.

WHY As it is proven that coffee gives a boost of energy, it may also contribute to long-term mood.

EXPERT ‘Two studies are hypothetical rather than conclusive,’ says dietician Dr Schenker. ‘Many factors contribute to depression.’


SPILL THE BEANS A meta-analysis involving 150,000 cases showed that those who drank one or two cups a day were 11 per cent less likely to develop heart failure. And the British Heart Foundation says drinking moderate amounts does not lead to heart disease.

WHY ‘Any protective effects may be attributed to antioxidant compounds such as chlorogenic acid, which is currently attracting interest,’ says Dr Stanley. However, Jack James, editor of the Journal Of Caffeine Research, claims that caffeine is causing early deaths and ought to be regulated.

EXPERT ‘There is no question that caffeine raises blood pressure by constricting blood vessels so that the heart has to work harder – this is clearly not a good thing,’ says Professor Rogers.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2407940/Are-coffees-health-claims-froth–leave-beans.html#ixzz2dijRXcBP

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