Too much coffee can raise early death risk in young people


Current rock-bottom wholesale prices for coffee — below cost for many of Latin American growers — and a crushing outbreak of coffee leaf rust, a fungus that slashes harvests, are making their lives a misery.


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Coffee has been credited with everything from preventing depression to boosting weight loss but new research shows that there can be too much of a good thing.

Researchers found that drinking more than four cups of coffee a day increased the risk of premature death by 21 percent.

If you're under 55 years old that increased risk jumps to 50 percent, according to the study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

"From our study, it seems safe to drink one to three cups of coffee a day," said study co-author Xuemei Sui.

"Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may endanger health," says Sui, assistant professor of exercise science with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Sui defines a cup of coffee as 6 to 8 ounces. Most Americans drink three of those a day, the study notes.

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The caffeine in coffee could be responsible for the increase in premature death but researchers didn't find a significant association between coffee consumption and heart disease death.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can elevate heart rate as well as raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

"People who drink more coffee may be prone to higher mortality," co-author Dr. Carl J. Lavie told MedPage Today.

"However, this may not be cause-and-effect, as there may be something else about the person who drinks 10 cups per day such as an addicting personality or is easily stressed out."

Their conclusion seemingly contracts another large study that looked at the link between coffee and the risk of death.

That study reported last year that drinking more than three cups of coffee a day actually decreased your chances of premature death.

While the scientific community continues to debate the risks of drinking too much coffee — go head and pour a cup of joe or two.

Or three... or four.