What the Research Really Shows on Coffee & Cancer

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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.

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Coffee Clickbait Goes Bananas

Banana and coffee for breakfast

New research on coffee and climate change indicates an urgent situation for crops at origin

Behind the headlines on the future of coffee, according to science – and how you can get involved.

By William (Bill) Murray, NCA CEO & President
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Complete with the typical clickbait-style headline, a recent article intoned that the global population is imminently doomed to a world without coffee – and “not much” can be done about this “on a personal level.”

Sounds grim.

But it could be easy to miss the glimmer of hope buried in the last line:

This future could look bleak for morning coffee drinkers, but with the help of farmers and scientists, our cup of joe can be protected.”

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FDA Takes Action Against Highly Concentrated Caffeine in Dietary Supplements, Citing Public Health

FDA caffeine supplements

Dietary supplements containing pure caffeine are unlawful when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers, due to the high risk that they will be erroneously consumed at excessive doses, according to the FDA.

The following is an excerpt from the latest NCA Member Alert

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a new guidance  to clarify that selling dietary supplements containing pure or highly concentrated caffeine in bulk quantities directly to consumers is  “considered unlawful,” because of the high risk that they will be accidentally consumed at excessive, potentially dangerous doses.

Read the FDA press announcement

With respect to pure or highly concentrated powdered or liquid caffeine, the National Coffee Association (NCA) supports the FDA’s common-sense measure to protect consumers. But it is important to remember that these products have very little relation to coffee: a single teaspoon of powdered caffeine has as much caffeine as 20 to 28 cups (3,200 mg).

In fact, drinking coffee – and the natural caffeine it contains – is perfectly safe for most people. It may even be good for you.

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Cold Brew Is Definitely a Thing, Dictionary Confirms

…. And apparently man buns are, too. 

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Cold brew continues to be one of the hottest trends in the coffee market: About 10% of daily coffee consumers reported drinking it past-day in 2017, via the latest National Coffee Drinking Trends report – up from only 1% in 2015.

And it’s not just for the coffee geeks and hipsters anymore: the popular beverage is now officially accepted into mainstream culture.

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Behind the Headlines: Coffee, Health, and Research

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For the informed coffee drinker.

By Bill M. Murray, CAE, NCA, CEO
@Bill_CoffeeAssn

We know that coffee helps fight fatigue – but how do we know this?

First, from personal observation – coffee drinkers feel the effects of caffeine, and sometimes observe them in others.

Second, there’s evidence in the form of coffee-drinker surveys. In 2016, 84% of coffee drinkers said that “coffee wakes me up and gets me going.”[1]

Third, independent researchers suggest that consuming caffeinated coffee may be linked to improved brain function, physical endurance, and athletic performance.[2]

Three different types of research, all leading to similar conclusions.

But when it comes to diet and health-related research, there are new headlines every day – sometimes with opposite claims. Coffee itself isn’t immune from this phenomenon, and it’s easy to see why.

Since the early 1990’s, at least 2,700 coffee and health related studies have been reported by researchers from all around the world.[3] With new coffee and health headlines emerging on a weekly basis, it is important that coffee drinkers think smart about the coffee and health news that breaks over their morning cup of coffee, some of which may even appear to be contradictory.

If you’re trying to stay up-to-date on coffee and health research, here are 4 things to keep in mind when reading the headlines.

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