If you took as gospel every single thing you read about food and drink, you’d be forgiven for thinking that for every study, there’s another one that contradicts it. And here’s a classic example of just that, involving something many of us love – coffee.
Associated Press reported that a Los Angeles judge had ruled that coffee companies must put a cancer warning label on their packaging because a chemical created in the roasting process was carcinogenic.
A non-profit group had sued coffee roasters and sellers under a Californian state law that requires companies to put warnings on packaging and products if they contain any one of a wide range of chemicals that cause cancer. When it comes to coffee, that chemical is acrylamide.
While coffee companies – ranging from bean producers to Starbucks – argued that acrylamide, which is created naturally during the roasting process, appeared in coffee only at a harmless level, the judge said they hadn’t proved that was the case with the studies they submitted as evidence. As a result, a cancer warning label was required, he said.
Meanwhile, the Journal of the American Heart Foundation has published a study that shows that coffee has health benefits, in that it reduces the build-up of plaque that clogs arteries.
Drinking more than three cups a day was associated with “lower odds of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in never smokers”, the researchers said, having found that people who never smoked and consumed at least three cups of coffee daily had a 63 percent lower risk of coronary calcification.
The researchers acknowledged that they could not prove cause and effect because the study was based on observations.
So, go figure. Coffee – cancer-causing or heart-healthy? Or perhaps both?