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    Coffee in Moderation May Lower Heart Failure Risk

    Two Cups a Day Linked With Best Effect, Researchers Say, but Excessive Drinking Linked With Ill Effects

    Coffee and Heart Failure Risk: Study Details continued...

    In the countries involved in the studies, he says, "a serving size might be like 4-5 ounces."

    That is about half or less than what is served in popular U.S. coffee chains, Mittleman says. For instance, at one chain, a short is 8 ounces, a tall 12, and a grande is 16 ounces.

    Three or four European servings would be equivalent to about two U.S. servings, or up to about two 10-ounce cups, he says.

    As coffee intake increases, the benefit declines, Mittleman found. "When you get up to five or six U.S. servings a day, we seem to see there is no further benefit and perhaps you are getting into a territory with increased risk," he says.

    "From these data, with respect to heart failure risk, stopping at about six [cups, U.S. style] would be wise," he says."Once you get beyond about 50 ounces a day, or five 10-ounce cups, you might be getting into harm territory."

    Coffee and Heart Failure Risk Reduction, Explained?

    The health benefits linked with coffee aren't fully understood, Mittleman says. He suspects the reduced heart failure risk is due to coffee's seeming ability to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Type 2 diabetes is ''directly related to developing heart failure," he says.

    Coffee Drinking and Heart Health: Second Opinion

    The study is potentially good news, especially for people at risk of heart failure, says cardiologist Arthur Klatsky, MD, adjunct investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and a senior consultant in cardiology for Kaiser.

    He reviewed the findings.

    "The chief practical application of this study is, people with heart disease at risk of heart failure should not be advised to totally abstain from coffee if they drink moderately," Klatsky says.

    Klatsky defines "moderately" as not more than four cups a day.

    However, he stresses that "the study does not prove benefit [of coffee in reducing heart failure risk]."

    Heart failure is ''the end result of underlying heart disease," Klatsky says. Among the heart problems that can cause heart failure are abnormal heart rhythms, heart valve disease, heart attack, or congenital heart disease, according to the NIH.

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