Would you drink less coffee if you found out that it’s bad for you? A new study shows that drinking too much coffee can be problematic for conditions such as osteoarthritis, arthropathy and obesity. Is this bad news for coffee-loving cyclists? How many coffees can you enjoy safely? Let’s take a look.

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A unique look at coffee drinking through genetics

Using data from 333,214 participants in the UK Biobank, researchers from the University of South Australia examined connections between genetically instrumented habitual coffee consumption and a variety of diseases.

“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 1,117 clinical conditions,” said the lead researcher, Professor Elina Hyppönen.

Coffee is associated with up to 4,1 % less body fat. Overall, in women of all ages the average total body fat percentage was 2,8 % lower among those who drank 2-3 cups a day compared to those who drank none. © Profimedia

Moderate coffee drinking is safe!

Professor Elina Hyppönen is an expert genetic epidemiologist who has been researching the effects of coffee for some time now. Her previous study sets the safe limit to six cups of coffee a day. The good news is her new study confirms that moderate coffee consumption is mostly safe.

“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. Reassuringly, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking is mostly safe,” Professor Hyppönen says.

 © Profimedia

Careful if you’re at risk for osteoarthritis, arthropathy, or obesity

The study didn’t just bring good news. It showed evidence for harmful effects of habitual coffee drinking in relation to osteoarthritis, arthropathy and obesity. This is especially worrying considering how prevalent these three diseases are.

“Excess coffee consumption can lead to increased risks of certain diseases. For people with a family history of osteoarthritis or arthritis, or for those who are worried about developing these conditions, these results should act as a cautionary message. The message we should always remember is consume coffee in moderation. That’s the best bet to enjoy your coffee and good health too,” Hyppönen concludes.

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