Guest article by Sam Hadadi,
If you’re anything like some of us at Lucy Bee, your morning coffee is your rocket fuel. It’s your get up and go.
Without it, it’s safe to say that you’re probably grunting incomprehensibly at family and friends and your energy levels will be left somewhere back in bed.
The miracle of coffee in the morning never ceases to amaze us. Yet for many years, the health benefits and risks of coffee have long been debated. Some say it’s bad for us, others say it can decrease the risk of obesity and heart problems. But who do we trust, and which advice do we listen to?
Thankfully, some clever Danish researchers have the answer. These scientists have used an incredibly innovative technique where they use our genes to investigate the impact of coffee on the body.
And the results? Well, the study says that no one is right - coffee neither increases nor decreases the risk of lifestyle diseases.
The research came from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital and showed that while coffee didn’t increase our risk of conditions such as obesity or diabetes, it didn’t decrease it either. In other words, it had no effect.
Cleverly, the researchers based their study on genes, since our genes play an active role in how much coffee we drink in the course of a day. The study also took into account the DNA and information about coffee drinking and lifestyle diseases from an impressive 93,000 Danes from the Copenhagen General Population Study.
The unique study looked into a number of genes that affect our desire for coffee. If you have the special coffee genes, then you may drink much more than those who don’t have the genes.
By analysing this same gene, researchers were able to see whether or not a higher coffee consumption would increase or decrease the risk of developing lifestyle diseases.
Boerge Nordestgaard, who worked on the study, said: "We can now see that the coffee genes are surprisingly not associated with a risk of developing type 2 diabetes or obesity. This suggests that drinking coffee neither causes nor protects against these lifestyle diseases.”
Medical student Ask Tybjaeg Nordestgaard, who also worked on the study, added: "We are the first in the world to have investigated the relationship with genes associated with a lifelong high consumption of coffee.
“These genes are completely independent of other lifestyle factors, and we can therefore conclude that drinking coffee in itself is not associated with lifestyle diseases.”
So, thanks to this study, we now know that coffee doesn’t trigger obesity or diabetes, and nor does it prevent it. Yet what are the other health benefits – and risks associated with drinking coffee?
Well, coffee certainly works wonders for our energy levels and at boosting physical performance. Yet, if you’re looking for a health boost, coffee is a known source of antioxidants1 (in fact the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet) – perfect for fighting all manner of illnesses and disease.
However, drink too much of your favourite caffeinated drink and it’s possible that it could affect anxiety or depression problems. It’s also wise to cut back significantly if you’re pregnant, or trying to conceive as it can affect fertility.
Interested in reading more? Vicky Ware explains more about the effects that coffee can have on the body, in a previous article2.
Since we’ve just learned that coffee isn’t going to raise your risk of diabetes and other lifestyle problems, it’s safe to drink up! If you’re looking for new ways to drink your favourite morning beverage, then why not try our favourite Lucy Bee Bullet Proof Coffee3?
As the perfect morning fire-power you can check out the science behind it too with Owen Bain4.
If you’re a coffee lover and want to know more about this beloved hot drink, then get reading. We have our definitive Lucy Bee Guide5 to everything you could ever need to know about coffee.
For further reading, see Science Daily6
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Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.