Drinking too much coffee can lead to increased risk of arthritis and obesity

May 18, 2020
A new study shows excess consumption can cause poor health. Source: Getty.

Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. But for years there has been an ongoing debate about the pros and cons of drinking caffeine. Now a new study led by the University of South Australia has found drinking too many cups of coffee can increase the risk of certain diseases including osteoarthritis and obesity. The research was published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

For the study, the researchers examined connections between high coffee consumption and a range of diseases using data from more than 300,000 participants in the UK Biobank. In an earlier study, the research team found six cups a day was considered the upper limit of safe consumption.

“Globally, we drink around three billion cups of coffee each day, so it makes sense to explore the pros and cons of this on our health,” Professor Elina Hypponen said. “Typically, the effects of coffee consumption are investigated using an observational approach, where comparisons are made against non-coffee-drinkers. But this can deliver misleading results. In this study, we used a genetic approach — called MR-PheWAS analysis — to establish the true effects of coffee consumption against 1117 clinical conditions.”

Hypponen continued: “Reassuringly, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking is mostly safe. But it also showed that habitual coffee consumption increased the risks of three diseases: osteoarthritis, arthropathy and obesity, which can cause significant pain and suffering for individuals with these conditions.”

For people with a family history of osteoarthritis or arthritis, or for those who are worried about developing these conditions, Hypponen says these results should act as a cautionary measure.

“While these results are in many ways reassuring in terms of general coffee consumption, the message we should always remember is to consume coffee in moderation — that’s the best bet to enjoy your coffee and good health too.”

Looking to cut down on your coffee consumption, but not sure where to start? Starts at 60 recently spoke to leading nutritionist Michaela Sparrow to get some of her best tips. If you want to cut down on your caffeine consumption, easing into it is the way to go, Sparrow said. She advised cutting back slowly over one to two weeks.

“If you’re drinking two coffees a day, cut back to one a day and do this for a week,” Sparrow said. “The following week cut back to one coffee every second day.”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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