While the current body of research related to the effects of coffee consumption on human health has been contradictory, a study found that the potential benefits of moderate coffee drinking outweigh the risks in adult consumers for the majority of major health outcomes considered. The study is published in the June issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, which is published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Researchers at Ulster University systematically reviewed 1,277 studies from 1970 to-date on coffee’s effect on human health and found the general scientific consensus is that regular, moderate coffee drinking (defined as 3-4 cups per day) essentially has a neutral effect on health, or can be mildly beneficial. The review was used to create an exhaustive list of the potential health benefits and risks of coffee consumption on the following health outcomes:

  • Total mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic health
  • Neurological disorders
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Other miscellaneous health outcomes

The authors noted causality of risks and benefits cannot be established for either with the research currently available as they are largely based on observational data. Further research is needed to quantify the risk-benefit balance for coffee consumption, as well as identify which of coffee’s many active ingredients, or indeed the combination of such, that could be inducing these health benefits.

Some financial support of this study was provided by illycafe s.p.a.; however the authors declare no conflict of interest regarding the objective search and summary of the literature.