So, is it coffee good or bad for you? According to this week’s news, it is good.. unless you drink it too hot which may make it carcinogenic, or at least that’s what a WHO panel of experts say. Yet the same panel also said in 1991 that coffee regardless of its temperature may lead to bladder cancer.
Is it confusing enough? If we take into account a recent report which has shown that more than 500 separated studies on the dark beverage have been conducted since 2010, we might have an answer.
Dr. Timothy Caulfield of University of Alberta in Canada explained in a recent interview why nutrition science seems so unreliable. The researcher noted that nowadays we have a constant “flip-flopping of nutrition science” and the general public is already fed up with what it perceives as useless information.
About four decades ago, a plethora of studies had found that coffee may be bad for you as it might fuel heart disease and high blood pressure in some population groups.
But recent studies suggest that the caffeinated beverage can in fact stave off heart disease and even protect you against some types of cancer.
Dr. Caulfield said that the same thing happened to red wine several years ago. But there is an explanation to the tidal wave of studies that don’t seem to make up their minds on a particular food or drink.
According to Caulfield, nutrition science is mostly based on observational data rather than on clinical trials, which makes it prone to error. He explained that you cannot have a randomized control trial on the dark beverage with participants that agree to be monitored for two decades.
Humans in uncontrolled conditions are extremely unpredictable. So, researchers cannot say whether coffee caused them cancer or other factors, the scientist added.
For instance, a 1981 study found that coffee may boost the risk of pancreatic cancer. But later, research proved the findings wrong as the study authors had failed to take into consideration smoking as a more probable risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
So it is not very clear whether coffee protects against liver disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s, as some recent studies have suggested or it can disrupt iron and calcium absorption and promote miscarriage, insomnia, and heart palpitations, as some other studies have shown.
Dr. Caulfield advises people to take these studies with a pinch of salt and don’t focus excessively on whether coffee is beneficial or not. Instead, people should embrace a healthy diet, make sure that they get enough exercise, and see coffee as a “marginal risk” for their health.
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