Coffee Associated With Less Body Fat But Also Some Diseases

Two recent studies confirm some pros and cons of feeding a coffee habit.

Posted May 16, 2020

StockSnap/Pixabay, used with permission
Moderation is everything.
Source: StockSnap/Pixabay, used with permission

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge England found that women who drink a moderate two to three cups of coffee a day have significantly less body fat than women who don’t drink any coffee at all. They also found that older women between the ages of 45 and 69 who drank coffee had even less body fat. The results were the same whether the coffee was caffeinated or not, if the participants were smokers or nonsmokers, or if they had chronic medical conditions or were in good health. 

Specifically, the body fat of women between the ages of 20 and 44 who drank two or three cups of coffee each day was 3.4% lower than that of those who did not drink coffee. That includes abdominal fat and overall body fat. Women 45 and older who drank two or three cups of coffee reported an additional 4.1% decrease in body fat. The results for men were not considered statistically significant.

Another coffee study was recently published, this one from the University of South Australia. Researchers used a genetic risk score to analyze the coffee drinking habits of more than 330,000 study participants with respect to multiple disease outcomes. They found that while drinking moderate amounts of coffee is generally safe for most people, drinking too much is associated with an increased risk of developing the condition osteoarthrosis that affects joints, other joint diseases, as well as increased weight.

Anyone with a family history of these issues may want to be especially cautious when it comes to habitual coffee drinking. When it comes to other medical conditions, these researchers found little harm or benefit.

Experts say up to four (8-ounce) cups of coffee, or 400 mg of caffeine daily, appears to be a safe, moderate recommendation for most healthy people. More than enough to wake you up, help get you focused and perhaps keep your weight down a bit, without causing any significant harm to your health.

References

Can C, Liu Q, Abufaraj M, et al. Regular coffee consumption is associated with lower regional adiposity measured by DXA among US women. The Journal of Nutrition. May 3, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa121

Nicolopoulos K, Mulugeta A, Zhou A, Hypponen E. Association between habitual coffee consumption and multiple disease outcomes: A Mendelian randomization phenome-wide association study in the UK biobank. Clinical Nutrition. March 13, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2020.03.009