Now, an article distributed by French news agency AFP cites studies showing that it is generally harmless to health and may protect against a range of illnesses according to studies published in recent years.
In February, this year a committee of independent experts from the US government every five years recommendations for dietary guidelines in the United States, noted that most of the time the coffee is not harmful to health.
“We have examined all studies and nothing indicates harmful effects of coffee on health, with moderate consumption of three to five cups a day” or a maximum of 500 milligrams of caffeine, says Miriam Nelson, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University Boston, and a member of the committee.
“In fact, we found a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes and some cancers”, prostate and breast cancer, she said in an interview with AFP. “The results are solid and is good news for people who drink coffee,” says Professor Nelson.
What the committee found when analyzing various studies is that daily drinking three to five cups of coffee does not have any negative consequences on the health of the general population.
Tom Brenna, professor of nutrition and of chemistry at Cornell University in New York, who is also a member of the committee says s, however, not exaggerate the benefits of coffee, since its action mechanism is unknown.
“It would be a bad idea to tell people that coffee could cure cancer,” he says. What the committee found when analyzing various studies is that “daily drinking of three to five cups of coffee does not have any negative consequences on the health of the general population. This drink looks as if it could even have protective effects,” he adds.
However, pregnant women should limit, as a precaution, caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day. He explains that no study shows that coffee is related to premature births.
For Professor Nelson there should also be more studies on the effects of caffeinated beverages, popular among teenagers and young adults, to determine toxicity levels of caffeine.
She also emphasizes the risk of consuming extra calories, especially in America, where usually cream or sugar is added to coffee.
Both scientists say the benefits of coffee, could be explained by antioxidants such as polyphenols, also present in red wine and cocoa. The coffee grains contain over a thousand different molecules, beyond caffeine.
This could explain the results of a recent survey of 25,000 men and women in South Korea, which shows that people who drink three to five cups a day have cleaner arteries, with less Cholesterol plaque responsible for cardiovascular disease .
By contrast, the coffee does have a preventive effect against Parkinson’s disease, observed in a 2000 study that clearly shows the role of caffeine in some receptors in the brain, says the professor Brenna.
Also, some studies showed an association between coffee and a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
Studies of researchers from Harvard University in 2011 show a 20% reduction in the risk of depression in women who drink at least four cups of decaffeinated coffee a day. Another, published in 2006, conducted among 90,000 women in the United States, shows a relative reduction in risk of becoming diabetic drinking two to three cups of coffee per day, whether or not decaffeinated. Even an investigation by US Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted among 400,000 men and women of 50-71 years in the United States shows a 10% reduction in mortality from all causes except cancer among people who drink several cups of coffee per day.