ADELAIDE, Australia — Coffee is generally looked at as a largely harmless vice. Sure, it may make some a bit more jittery than they would like, but there aren’t too many adverse health outcomes associated with enjoying a cup of java on a daily basis. Now, however, a new study is recommending that we all keep our coffee consumption to a reasonable level.
Researchers from the University of South Australia have found that drinking too much coffee is linked to an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, joint disease (arthropathy), and general obesity.
An earlier study by the same team had concluded that six cups of coffee per day is the absolute limit in terms of safe consumption levels. Still, because it’s so widely consumed all over the world, it’s important to fully understand its potential impact on one’s health, according to the study’s lead author, UniSA’s Professor Elina Hyppönen. Millions drink absurd amounts of coffee each day. It’s incredibly common for college students or employees trying to meet a deadline to constantly refill their mug.
“Globally, we drink around three billion cups of coffee each day, so it makes sense to explore the pros and cons of this on our health,” Professor Hyppönen says in a release.
“Typically, the effects of coffee consumption are investigated using an observational approach, where comparisons are made against non-coffee-drinkers. But this can deliver misleading results. In this study, we used a genetic approach – called MR-PheWAS analysis – to establish the true effects of coffee consumption against 1117 clinical conditions,” Professor Hyppönen continues. “Reassuringly, our results suggest that, moderate coffee drinking is mostly safe.
So, while the findings indicate one or two cups per day is just fine, habitual and excessive coffee drinking can increase one’s risk of developing the three aforementioned conditions. All three are known to cause serious pain and discomfort.
It’s also noteworthy that all three health problems, osteoarthritis, joint disease, and obesity, are among the most common ailments all over the world. Perhaps the popularity of coffee has influenced the occurrence of these diseases more than the medical community has realized thus far.
The study’s authors also stress that people with a family history of osteoarthritis, arthritis, or obesity, take these findings that much more seriously.
“The body generally sends powerful messages with respect to coffee consumption, so it’s imperative that individuals listen to these when consuming coffee,” Professor Hyppönen concludes. “While these results are in many ways reassuring in terms of general coffee consumption, the message we should always remember is consume coffee in moderation – that’s the best bet to enjoy your coffee and good health too.”
The study is published in Clinical Nutrition.