The latest edition to years of research on drinking coffee now shows that the popular beverage may be linked to a lower risk of death.
The findings, which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine medical journal on Monday (March 30), observed 120,000 people in the United Kingdom who regularly drank unsweetened or sugar-sweetened coffee during a seven-year span and found that individuals who consumed 1.5 to 3.5 cups per day had a lower risk of death than non-coffee drinkers — even those who added a teaspoon of real sugar — than non-coffee drinkers.
Additionally, sugar-sweetened coffee drinkers were between 29% and 31% less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers while individuals who drank unsweetened coffee were between 16% and 21% less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers, researchers wrote in the journal.
Dr. Christina Wee, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who edited the study and wrote an accompanying editorial, acknowledged that researchers didn’t include the causality of death, so it can’t be confirmed whether drinking coffee was directly responsible for the outcome.
“Biologically, it is plausible that coffee could actually confer some direct health benefits,” Wee said, though adding that “we can’t say for sure that it’s the coffee drinking per se that leads to the lower mortality risk.”
Other factors leading to the results could include that individuals who regularly drink coffee are wealthier and, therefore, more likely to have access to better health care or time for fitness than non-coffee drinkers observed in the study, which would lead to a lower mortality risk.
Participants in the study were reportedly around the age of 56 on average and recruited during a span between 2006 and 2010, with researchers considering diet, smoking, socioeconomic status, pre-existing health issues and air pollution exposure as factors for their results, according to the journal entry.