Coffee – How Much? How Good? How Bad?


Majid Ali, M.D.

Common Sense Should Prevail


When to Avoid Coffee or Limit It 

It makes sense to avoid coffee or restrict its use in the presence of gastrointestinal disorders, especially the GERD-gastritis complex. Common sense also tells us that coffee drinking should be avoided or restricted by individuals with heart rhythm disorders (atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, and other related conditions.

As for the general population without the disorders referred to above, in several studies, coffee in moderate amounts 1-3 cups a day was shown to have some cardiovascular benefits. In other studies, coffee has also limited benefits in preventing liver injury and diabetes.

Below is the abstract of an article published in the journal Am J Epidemiology in 1014 (full citation at the end.)


Several studies have analyzed the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality, but the shape of the association remains unclear. We conducted a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies to examine the dose-response associations between coffee consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and all cancers. Pertinent studies, published between 1966 and 2013, were identified by searching PubMed and by reviewing the reference lists of the selected articles. Prospective studies in which investigators reported relative risks of mortality from all causes, CVD, and all cancers for 3 or more categories of coffee consumption were eligible. Results from individual studies were pooled using a random-effects model. Twenty-one prospective studies, with 121,915 deaths and 997,464 participants, met the inclusion criteria. There was strong evidence of nonlinear associations between coffee consumption and mortality for all causes and CVD (P for nonlinearity < 0.001). The largest risk reductions were observed for 4 cups/day for all-cause mortality (16%, 95% confidence interval: 13, 18) and 3 cups/day for CVD mortality (21%, 95% confidence interval: 16, 26). Coffee consumption was not associated with cancer mortality. Findings from this meta-analysis indicate that coffee consumption is inversely associated with all-cause and CVD [cardiovascular) mortality.



Crippa A, Discacciati A, Larsson SC, et al. Coffee Consumption and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis Am J Epidemiology. 2014.180:763-775.


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