Coffee's Health Perks Get Attention
Researchers Look for Health Benefits of Popular Drink
WebMD News Archive
April 30, 2007 -- Scientific research may soon help coffee shed some of its
image as an unhealthy drink. Or at least that's what the big companies that
sell it are hoping it will do.
With tens of millions of cups of coffee jolting Americans awake each day, a
bevy of research is under way trying to tease out the health advantages -- and
disadvantages -- of the nation's coffee fixation.
Coffee's image took a hit in 1982 when a major study concluded that frequent
use increased the risk of pancreatic cancer. Since then, coffee companies have
funded more and more research seeking to show the opposite: that coffee may
actually have some health benefits.
While studies are backing up some of the health warnings, a growing body of
research is suggesting that daily coffee consumption may lower the risk of type
According to Lenore Arab, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist at UCLA, other
studies suggest less conclusively that coffee could help lower the risk of
liver cancer, Parkinson's disease, and possibly colon cancer. And Arab says
other research suggests high coffee intake by pregnant women can put their
children at risk of leukemia.
Arab spoke at the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology
annual meeting in Washington. He says two major studies, one from Canada and
the other from Uruguay, showed a 60% to 70% increased risk of bladder cancer
among regular coffee drinkers.
"Cancer -- the total picture -- is somewhat mixed," Arab says.
"Basically, it's neutral," says Dan Steffen, a scientific public
relations official with Kraft Foods.