Coffee: Health Benefit Or Health Hazard?

Last time, we spent a while talking about raw foods. There’s few people that would argue with you if you suggested that it’s a great way to improve your diet, and in turn, your health. For years, nutritionists and the medical profession have been banging the drum about our diets, eating less fat and getting more exercise. Of course, for many it falls on deaf ears, but today we’re going to talk about something closer to many adult hearts, coffee!

Many people enjoy a freshly ground cup of coffee at least one a day.
Many people enjoy a freshly ground cup of coffee at least one a day.

So, if you’re in love with your caffeine and invested heavily in bean-to-cup coffee machines, what’s the problem? Well, for years (since 1991 in fact) scientists have linked drinking coffee with cancer, particularly bladder cancer. That doesn’t mean that a simple cup in the morning is likely to kill you, but it does mean that excessive consumption might increase your chances of developing the disease at some point in your life.

However, more recently, the World Health Organisation changed their stance on this, many people’s hot drink of choice. They said that hot drinks in general can raise risk, but not coffee specifically, and coffee in itself is no longer thought to be linked to cancer. The belief is now that it’s actually the temperature of the liquid that’s the problem, not what’s in the cup. That’s not to say that you can now safely drink twenty cups per day, as that will, at the very least, be likely to give you issues with your sleep!

What’s interesting is that despite the coffee link as a carcinogen having been made a quarter of a century ago, it came as a surprise to many people who drink a lot of coffee, so why exactly is it that people have been ignorant of that connection for so long?

To go back to the original point, the devil is in the detail. It’s never been the case that the science boffins or doctors have considered the risk from drinking coffee to be up there with smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco, it’s simply been a risk raising factor. Similarly, there has been no quantification of what a safe or an unsafe level of consumption would be – the limited evidence just suggested a connection between the two in the early nineties. However, the latest analysis has shown that the evidence was insufficient, and more recent studies involving coffee have failed to back up the link, so on that basis, it’s effectively cancelled out the initial research without official studies ever needing to be done.

So, there you go, free and natural foods are great to build your diet around to get all the vitamins and minerals your body loves, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fire up your beloved bean-to-cup coffee maker once or twice a day too.