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Coffee Confidential

Today is National Coffee Day, the story goes that coffee beans were originally discovered centuries ago in Ethiopia. A goat farmer realized the energizing effects of these magical beans after his goats consumed the coffee beans from a coffee plant. With coffee being a big business it is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day across the world.

There is so much coffee on-the-go around the world, it’s important to consider some of the effects this caffeinated drink can have on the body. In recent years there has been a number of reviews assessing old and new theories about the benefits and potential negative effects of coffee consumption. Let’s take a look at a few interesting studies that may shed some light.

In the past, certain observational studies linked coffee consumption to an increased risk for developing gastric cancers. However we all know correlation does not necessarily equal causation. In March 2015 the International Journal of Cancer published a study that examined the relative risk associated with caffeinated and decaffeinated tea and coffee intake in over 470,000 subjects over 11.5 years. They concluded that consumption of “total, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was not associated with an overall gastric cancer risk.”

Another meta analysis from the Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition published earlier this year has reviewed 22 studies (majority being case-controlled and dose-dependent) and found that not only was there no increased risk but there may even be a reduced risk for gastric cancer. The paradigm is shifting away from coffee increasing risks for causing gastric cancer.

Further, when studied in many other cancers, coffee consumption has been found to sometimes reduce the risk for causing cancers. For example, higher caffeinated coffee intake was associated with a lower risk for postmenopausal breast cancer in European women (it is worth noting that decaffeinated coffee did not seem to significantly alter the risk). Similarly, endometrial cancer risk was reduced by 5-7% for every cup of coffee consumed.

With all this in mind we say go-ahead and grab that cup of Joe!


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Bradbury KE, Khaw KT, Wareham N, Huybrechts I, Freisling H, Cross AJ, Riboli E, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB. Total, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea intake and gastric cancer risk: results from the EPIC cohort study. Int J Cancer. 2015 Mar 15;136(6):E720-30. doi: 10.1002/ijc.29223. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

Uccella S, Mariani A, Wang AH, Vierkant RA, Cliby WA, Robien K, Anderson KE, Cerhan JR. Intake of coffee, caffeine and other methylxanthines and risk of Type I vs Type II endometrial cancer. Br J Cancer. 2013 Oct 1;109(7):1908-13. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.540. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

Xie Y, Huang S, He T, Su Y. Coffee consumption and risk of gastric cancer: an updated meta-analysis. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2016;25(3):578-88. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.092015.07

Zeng SB, Weng H, Zhou M, Duan XL, Shen XF, Zeng XT. Long-Term Coffee Consumption and Risk of Gastric Cancer: A PRISMA-Compliant Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Sep;94(38):e1640. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001640.

Zhou Q, Luo ML, Li H, Li M, Zhou JG. Coffee consumption and risk of endometrial cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 25;5:13410. doi: 10.1038/srep13410.


Dr. Navnirat Nibber

About The Author

Dr. NavNirat Nibber, ND is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and a registered Naturopathic Doctor. She is a Co-Owner at Crescent Health Clinic, as well as a Senior Medical Advisor at Advanced Orthomolecular Research.

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