Two new studies on the health benefits of coffee show people may want to replace their apple with a few cups of coffee if they want to keep the doctor away. According to the studies, published in "The Annals of Internal Medicine," a few cups of coffee a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancerand diabetes.
One study focused on nonwhite Americans and showed that people who drink two to four cups of coffee a day have an 18 percent lower risk of death than people who don’t. The other study focused on 10 different European countries and showed that people who drink three or more cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, liver disease and, among men, even suicide.
While the result of these studies may be good news for coffee addicts, medical ethicist and the head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center Art Caplan says you shouldn’t be so quick to believe the caffeine hype.
Caplan criticized the study on Boston Public Radio Wednesday, saying that there is no way a study so broad would be able to account for the variety of variables that could impact the data.
“It is a big study and couldn’t control for all the variables,” said Caplan. “People drink different concentrations of coffee, people drink different amounts of coffee, they drink it at different times. More to the point, you aren’t able to control their diet, whether they are exercising or not … It is not clear what substance in the coffee that would be doing anything helpful."
Caplan called the two studies suggestive in their results and said that researchers are surmising that the connection between all of these people and their health status can be attributed to coffee.
Caplan did say at the very least it would make him say, “I don’t need to stop drinking coffee.”
Medical ethicist Art Caplan is the head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center and the co-host of the Everyday Ethics podcast. To hear more of his interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.