• Researchers have found that drinking coffee appears to be linked to a longer lifespan.
  • Moderate coffee drinkers were less likely to die during a 7-year follow-up period.
  • Coffee has previously been linked to several health benefits, including less risk of certain diseases.
  • Moderate sugar intake did not reduce the benefits.
  • However, experts suggest staying away from high-calorie specialty drinks.

Researchers at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China have some good news for coffee lovers. They found that people who drink the popular beverage were less likely to die during a seven-year follow-up period.

The effect was strongest in people with moderate coffee consumption, equating to about 1.5 to 3.5 cups daily.

Both sweetened and unsweetened coffee were linked to a lower risk for death. However, people drinking sweetened coffee did a bit better than those who took no sugar in their cup of brew.

Drinkers of sweetened coffee were as much as 31 percent less likely to die while those who drank unsweetened coffee were 21 percent less likely to die.

“The results for those who used artificial sweeteners were less clear,”said lead researcher, Dr. Dan Liu.

Coffee’s link to lower risk of death and the role of sweeteners

“Studies suggest coffee may protect the heart and aid in treating other diseases,” Liu told Healthline.

However, previous research surrounding the health benefits of drinking coffee did not examine whether specific sweetener use in coffee had any influence on health outcomes.

Liu said her team’s goal was to see how this might affect the results of their research.

The study was set up as a prospective cohort study, meaning that they would place people in groups who were similar to each other in every way except how they took their coffee. Then, they would follow them over time to see how they fared.

They obtained their data from the UK Biobank. This database includes about a half a million people who have volunteered to make their medical and genetic information available to researchers.

Altogether, 171,616 people who did not have cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the study were included. The average age of the study participants was 55.6 years. These people were followed beginning in 2009 and ending in 2018.

During the study, people reported their consumption of coffee and whether they used sugar, artificial sweeteners, or no sweetener at all.

“Adults who drank sugar-sweetened coffee added only one teaspoon of sugar on average,” said Liu.

The research team estimated deaths due to all causes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

After analyzing the gathered data, the researchers found a U-shaped association between how much coffee was drank and risk for death.

People with a moderate level of consumption did better than those who had less or more.

The study authors did caution, however, that the data is around ten years old. Also, it is from a country where tea is a very popular drink, which could potentially have affected the outcome.

They further noted that the people in the study used much less sugar than what is found in many chain coffee shops’ drinks. This makes it difficult to make comparisons between the study participants and people who get their coffee from outlets like Starbuck’s.

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