Is Coffee Good for You? Our Coffee Doctor Weighs In

Yes, coffee is good for you. But did you know you that more of it can be better? Our resident Coffee Doctor, Mark Corey, PhD, recently traveled to Montréal, Canada for the East Coast Coffee Madness festival, where he spoke about how coffee’s not only good for the drinker, but good for the people who grow it, too.  Read on for a window into coffee madness:


East Coast Coffee Madness (ECCM) (Festival du Café de Montréal) was held on October 19-20th, 2019 in Québec, Canada, at the gorgeous Montréal Science Center.  Organized by Jonathan Gabbay and Nathalie Gabbay of RGC Coffee, the event brought together professionals young and old from every corner of the coffee industry – from baristas to roasters to purveyors of the finest self-contained, bicycle-powered espresso carts. (Really.)

Dozens of exhibitors showcased their artisanal craftmanship and expert ability to source, roast, and prepare coffee to perfection.  But I wasn’t just in Montréal to sample some of the finest single-origin coffees in the world (though that was a nice perk – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, anyone? I had a mission: to take the stage and help spread the word about the surprising — and under-reported — health benefits of coffee.

Raising the Floor                                                  

The theme of the keynote presentations was “Raising the Floor” of coffee prices. A diverse roster of experts offered compelling insights into how we can address this complex issue for which there is no magic bullet. Phyllis Johnson of BD Imports, former Board Member of the NCA, spoke about the need to elevate the voices of women and minorities in coffee. By having their voices heard and increasing awareness of their contributions to the value chain, she said, we can help build stronger coffee-growing communities – in a sense, ‘raising the floor’ at the ground level.  

As we all remember from Econ 101, supply and demand dictates that when there is an oversupply of a something, market prices tend to fall. This is the situation we find ourselves in with coffee. Before coffee prices reached their current low, farmers were already struggling to stay above the farmgate value, or break-even cost of production — so asking them to limit production at the expense of their own livelihoods is not a viable solution. Instead, we should be working to increase consumption – and one way to do this is to spread awareness of the health benefits of coffee.  This was the focus of my address.

Coffee is Good For You — and More is Better

As a food scientist, I’ve spent much of my career evaluating the scientific consensus and the latest research to make sure coffee is safely produced and healthy to consume. The data is clear on coffee: It’s healthy, and the greatest benefits may be derived by drinking 2-4 cups per day (1).  The problem is, most consumers don’t know that coffee is good for you — let alone that more is better. In fact, the 2018 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) Breakout Report on Coffee and Health reported that 69% of consumers were unaware of the potential health benefits of coffee. To capitalize on this massive pool of consumers who could help balance out the coffee oversupply, my presentation highlighted the possible benefits of coffee consumption, such as how coffee drinkers:

  • Live longer than non-coffee drinkers (1),
  • Are LESS likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers (2),
  • May benefit from liver-protective effects (3),
  • May experience protection from depression (4),
  • May derive other potential health benefits (5).

It was frankly a lot of information for anyone to absorb in a short period of time, but I’m hopeful that by interpreting the data and presenting it in an informal, conversational way, coffee pros are better equipped to share with their customers that they need not feel guilty about that extra cup of joe.

Several thousand years ago, Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”  I think we can all drink to that!   

Cheers,

Mark Corey, PhD, Director of Scientific Affairs at the NCA. 

References:

East Coast Coffee Madness – https://www.eccoffeemadness.com/

Supply and demand – https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_69.htm

Farmgate price –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farm_gate_value

69% – National Coffee Drinking Trends Breakout Report: Coffee and health. 2018.  http://www.ncausa.org/Industry-Resources/Market-Research/Consumer-Insight-Reports

(1) Kim Y, Je Y, Giovannucci E.  Coffee consumption and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a meta-analysis by potential modifiers Eur J Epidemiol. 2019 Aug; 34(8): 731-752.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31055709

(2) Carlström M, Larsson SC. Coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analysis.  Nutr Rev. 2018 Jun 1; 76(6): 395-417.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29590460

NCA Submits Comments to 2020-2025 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Related: NCA Update from the 2020 US Dietary Guidelines Scientific Review

The following is an excerpt from the latest NCA Member Alert

Do you remember the Food Guide Pyramid or MyPlate?

Every 5 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines.  These are dietary recommendations for Americans to practice healthy eating habits. 

Shaped by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), these guidelines have an enormous impact on US perceptions and behaviors regarding nutrition and health, which is why it’s critical to communicate the science on coffee and health.

Continue reading

NCA Update: 2020 US Dietary Guidelines Scientific Review

Setting the stage for the next evolution in dietary guidance to Americans for 2020-2025

Editor’s note: The connection between lifestyle and health is increasingly being recognized by the medical and scientific communities. We know that diet, exercise habits, and smoking and alcohol consumption impact our health. And as the science continues to advance, it seems there are new discoveries weekly.

To help Americans make healthy food and beverage choices, the U.S. Government issues Dietary Guidelines, which in the past have been communicated by USDA guides such as the Food Guide Pyramid and MyPlate.

When the USDA last undertook this exercise, the NCA formally recommended that the healthy aspects of coffee be recognized – and they were.  The 2015-2020 Guidelines acknowledge that coffee can be part of a healthy diet.

And the process to update these guidelines is now well underway.


By Dr. Mark Corey, Director of Scientific & Government Affairs, National Coffee Association

Over the past two days, I attended the meeting of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in Washington, DC, focused on creating the protocol and guidelines shaping US nutrition and guidance to Americans for the next 5 years.

Panels of experts are examining every aspect of the American diet, inside and out, and have outlined their process for evaluating the science-based evidence. Subcommittees are focused on a range of topics such as dietary patterns and looking across different age groups from birth to older adults.

Continue reading

Support coffee farmers – pour another cup!

Harvesting coffee cherries in Nicaragua. Source

The science behind increasing global demand

By Bill (William) Murray, President & CEO, National Coffee Association

I’ve been thinking about the good news, challenges, and opportunities that face all of us in the coffee community – just as I travel to Brazil for the upcoming World Coffee Producers Forum

The good news should be well known to all:  last month California finally gave coffee the all clear, joining scientists worldwide in concluding that coffee does not cause cancer and may in fact protect against cancer and other diseases.

Continue reading

Pot Head: The Coffee Cannabis Connection

Coffee is a complex substance and — as a new study finds — its metabolic interactions are equally complex.

Coffee influences the same regions of the brain as cannabis, according to recent research.

By Tim Newman| Fact checked by Jasmin Collier

Read the full article at Medical News Today

Visit the NCA Guide to Cannabis & CBD for Coffee Companies


Although studies looking at coffee’s health benefits — or lack thereof — appear to be published on an almost daily basis, its true impact on health is still poorly understood.

Some studies have found health benefits, some have concluded that it might reduce mortality risk, and others drew no solid conclusions.

This confusion is due to several factors, and one is the difficulty in separating cause and effect in large, population-based studies. For example, someone who drinks a lot of coffee might also sleep less, smoke more tobacco, drink less water, or work unsociable hours. These factors muddy the statistical waters.

Also, coffee is an incredibly complex beast; it contains more than 1,000 aroma compounds, levels of which vary depending on the type of coffee bean and how it is brewed.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, took a detailed look at the impact of coffee consumption on our internal chemistry. Their findings were published this week in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

The scientists found that with increased coffee consumption, blood metabolites involved in the endocannabinoid system dropped off. This is the system that gives cannabis its recreational and medical effects.

Continue reading

Science Says That Coffee Is A Good Idea

Just the thought of coffee can help perk up your brain, science suggests

Just looking at something that reminds us of coffee may cause our minds to become more alert and attentive, according to a new study.

According to the NCA 2019 National Coffee Drinking Trends report, 57% of consumers say that they drink coffee because it helps them focus.

It seems that they’re on to something – and you may not even need to take a sip to get a similar psychological effect, according to new research from the University of Toronto.

Continue reading

NCA National Coffee Data Trends 2019

Growth Chart

The Behaviors & Perceptions of U.S. Coffee Drinkers

63% of American adults drink coffee daily, according to new market research announced at the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in Atlanta.


The National Coffee Association USA (NCA) offered a first look at the redesigned and rebranded 2019 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) today at the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The NCDT report has tracked consumer behaviors and perceptions shaping coffee trends in the US for almost 70 years.

63% of American adults drink coffee daily, according to the NCDT, steady with 2018 consumption.

“Coffee is America’s most beloved beverage – and for good reason,” said William (Bill) Murray, NCA President & CEO. “New consumer values have changed the game for coffee. But the industry is adapting – and thriving – by embracing innovation and transparency.”

From sustainability to wellness, these realigned priorities mean that consumers are paying more attention to what’s in their cup than ever before.

Continue reading

What the Science Says About Common Coffee and Health Myths

matt-steele-1392297-unsplash

Study after study has found that coffee has a host of potential health benefits. Yet there’s still a lot of confusion among consumers and in the media

Surprisingly, 69% of Americans report that they have not even heard of any studies related to coffee and disease prevention, according to recent NCA market research.

And despite the fact that people already have less than the 3-5 cups daily recommended for optimal physical benefit, limiting caffeine intake was cited as the leading reason to cut coffee consumption.

Here’s a quick glance at some of the most common misconceptions on coffee and health – and what the science really says.

To learn more about coffee, caffeine, and health, join the NCA Science Leadership Council for the Coffee Science Fair at the NCA Convention in Atlanta, March 7-9.

Continue reading

What the Research Really Shows on Coffee & Cancer

sarah-shaffer-698760-unsplash (4)

Coffee may lower the risk of several types of cancer, according to recent studies reviewed by researchers at the American Cancer Society.

The following excerpt was originally posted at the American Cancer Society

AICR has named February Cancer Month. Learn more

To learn more about science, coffee, and why the research matters, join the experts from the NCA Scientific Leadership Council for “The Coffee Science Fair: A Fun Look at a Serious Topic,” a special educational session at the NCA 2019 Convention in Atlanta, GA on March 8.


Scientists have been investigating the links between coffee and cancer for decades. And while our understanding of coffee’s potential health benefits has improved with advances in research, there’s still more to learn.

In 2016, an expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — the arm of the World Health Organization that is responsible for assessing whether certain substances cause cancer — could not conclude that drinking coffee is carcinogenic based on the current evidence available.

Yet the coffee-cancer connection has recently reappeared in the news, due to the ongoing Prop 65 legislation in California to put misleading “cancer warning labels” on coffee.

So, what do coffee drinkers need to know?

In following interview written by Elizabeth Mendes, American Cancer Society researchers Susan Gapstur, PhD, and Marjorie McCullough, ScD, explain what the studies really show when it comes to coffee and cancer, and discuss what other research is still needed.

Continue reading

Coffee and Cigarettes: Misinformation By Algorithm

esther-tuttle-1204669-unsplash

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, popular myths on coffee and health continue to persist.

By Kyra Auffermann, NCA Digital Content & Communications Manager


Coffee plays an important role in the lives (or at least mornings) of most people — in the United States, nearly 80% of all adults drink coffee, typically at the start of their day.

Yet most coffee drinkers don’t have a good understanding of coffee: the plant, the way it is processed, or the precision of a “perfect” roast.

In fact, more coffee drinkers may have a good misunderstanding of coffee. And despite overwhelming evidence, myths persist — particularly when it comes to coffee and health.

Continue reading