Curtis K Shelburne
As a serious lover of coffee, and as a mortal, I read the headline with interest: “People With Daily Intake Of 1.5 to 3.5 Cups Of Coffee Less Likely To Die.”
I find this problematic headline on several levels. First, it’s lousy capitalization. No matter which style manual you use, this title has problems.
But you see the bigger problem, don’t you? I suspect that your experience is the same as mine, and I’m telling no secrets here. But, in my experience, though I find coffee beneficial on many levels, no matter how much of it anyone drinks, everyone dies—100%.
I found the same headline showing up on other news outlets (sometimes with better capitalization), and they added two words, “by 30%.”
That confuses me even more. Does that mean only 30% of the people who are somewhat serious coffee drinkers might not die? Even the lower percentage would be impressive. Sort of like saying that “I’ve had three dogs, but only one of them could speak coherently.” But, sadly, even the lower percentage, both of coffee drinkers and talking dogs, flies in the face of reality.
If you read further, you’ll discover that the study was done in China. The thugs in charge lie as often as they tell the truth, but I figure this is accurate.
Chinese scientists monitored 171,000 people for seven years. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had cancer or heart disease. According to Luke Andrews, the “health reporter for DailyMail.com,” the research team “found those who regularly drank coffee were about a third less likely to die than those who did not.”
Does that help explain? Not by much.
The article goes on to tell us that the researchers found that “it didn’t matter whether the coffee was plain or sweetened with sugar.”
Well, at least there’s that. But I still find the explanation lacking.
Reading on, I learn that during the seven-year study, the deaths that occurred numbered 3,177 (“including 1,725 from cancer and 628 from heart disease”).
It seems that simply “drinking hot drinks” lowered mortality somewhat, but the participants who reported at the start of the study that they drank “1.5 to 3.5 cups” of coffee daily, well, they
were 30% less likely to die—during the seven years.
The researchers went on to mention (this is my paraphrase) that many health benefits have previously been reported in studies regarding coffee. (I’ve been noting those for years.) But this study was not specifically designed to study coffee consumption. Their “coffee discovery” was just “observational,” a surprise, and they are drawing no major conclusions from it.
If you’re interested, do a web search (plugging in something like “1.5 to 3.5 cups of coffee”), and you can read a lot more.
For my part, I’ll add this information regarding the benefits of coffee to my personal stash of such material. I’ve felt better for a long time now knowing that my love for coffee has been good for me, not that I’d have stopped drinking it if the evidence had pointed in the other direction.
Ever since health “evidence” mistakenly touted margarine’s benefits over butter—and thus robbed me of years of buttery flavor—my policy regarding most “health news” is watchful waiting. I can usually wait out the reports I don’t like. Since they change more easily and quickly than I’m willing to change my habits, this approach has worked well. Folks who worry too much about such are more likely to die early of stress than those of us who don’t. That’s my own study.
With regard to coffee, which I hold in very high regard, I can’t imagine how anyone wakes up, thinks, or writes without it.
But the truth is that my interest in this particular coffee article waned a good bit after I realized that the study is not indicating any sort of immortality connected to coffee consumption.
I’m okay with that. In this present world, enough’s enough. And I am completely convinced that the Author of life has the ultimate immortality thing well in hand.