The joys of coffee… the magical brew that kickstarts the day! A much-needed morning infusion, a great pick-me-up in the afternoon, and sometimes even a well-appreciated digestive after dinner. But, how much coffee is too much, and when does it begin to affect our hearts and our health? A recent study holds some interesting answers. But, before we jump into all of that, let’s look at some recent coffee demographics first…
The Latest Coffee Drinker Stats
As most of us can surmise, coffee drinking is almost always on the rise, which is a global statistic. Reports indicate in all of 2018 and up to June of 2019 (as of this writing), people in the U.S. alone have consumed almost 26.5 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee. That is a lot of brew! Further statistics report that half of young adults (aged 18–24) reported drinking coffee, and approximately three-quarters of older adults reported the same. It’s safe to say that coffee is only growing in popularity worldwide, and that fact probably won’t change anytime soon!
According to a recent study presented in June at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference, and recently published on the CNN website, suggests that drinking five cups of coffee a day was no worse for the arteries than drinking less than one cup. Surprising, the study of more than 8,000 people across the United Kingdom found that even those who drank up to 25 cups a day were no more likely to experience stiffening of the arteries than someone drinking less than one cup a day. That is a very surprising find!
Now, that isn’t to say that anyone should be drinking that much coffee! Here at Mt. Si, we feel we can all agree that too much of anything is excessive and that moderation is key to everything. But as time goes on, we do find a good cup of joe does come with some fabulous health benefits, as it contains some powerful antioxidants and has been associated with living longer.
The British study, which was also published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included health data on long-term coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease among 347,077 adults in the United Kingdom. The data was collected in 22 centers dating back between 2006 and 2010 as part of the UK Biobank. It featured self-reported information on how many cups of coffee the subjects drank each day, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease was measured. Information on each adult’s cardiovascular health reportedly came from hospital inpatient records and mortality records.
The subjects were grouped into categories:
- Those who didn’t drink coffee,
- Those drinking decaffeinated coffee, and
- Those drinking caffeinated coffee.
The caffeinated coffee drinking group was further divided by how many cups they drank each day, on average. The researchers found something surprising:
- Compared with those who drank one or two cups a day, the odds of cardiovascular disease were 11% higher among adults who did not drink coffee.
- 7% higher among those who drank decaf; and
- A whopping 22% higher among those who drank more than six cups per day.
Did You Know? Your Coffee Habit May Be Genetic
By looking at populations of people in villages in Italy, researchers conducted a genome-wide association study back in 2016, in which they examined markers in DNA and identified a gene called PDSS2 that could play a role in caffeine metabolism. In the study, the researchers asked more than 1,200 people in Italy how much coffee they drank and compared their consumption and genetic results to another population of a little over 1,700 people in the Netherlands.
They found that people with greater expression of the PDSS2 gene also reported drinking less coffee. The gene is thought to regulate the production of proteins that metabolize caffeine in the body, the study authors report. The hypothesis is that people with higher expression levels of this gene are metabolizing caffeine slower, and that’s why they’re drinking less coffee. The assumption was those people need to drink it less often to still have the positive effects of caffeine, like being awake and feeling less tired, for example.
Okay! So How Much Coffee is Too Much?
The short answer is it’s best to stay under six cups of coffee per day, as a rule of thumb. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it’s really best to try not to exceed 3 to 5 cups a day, with a maximum of 400 milligrams of caffeine, especially for women, and/or those with smaller capacities for handling caffeine. Caffeine content can vary depending on the type of coffee, but an average 8-ounce cup has 95 milligrams in it. Not sure about what’s safe for you? Contact your doctor or health care professional for assistance. They’re always happy to help.
In the meantime, before you leave the website, don’t forget to visit our online store and grab a quick bag of fabulous Mt. Si coffee on your way out. After all, it’s good for your health!