This Study Says Coffee Drinkers Live Longer, But Is There More to It?


People who drink coffee live longer

The latest in the dizzying back-and-forth debates about coffee is offered in an article by F. Perry Wilson MD, July 02, 2018 published in MedPage Today. This interesting article published by Medpage Today is about a study done on the lifespans of coffee drinkers. The study concludes that coffee drinkers do indeed live longer than non-coffee drinkers and there may even be a dose-response effect with more coffee being more protective.

But, there’s more to it…

It’s not the caffeine that has the effect

Before the study was conducted, the participants were genetically tested. One of the important pieces of data was how well an individual can metabolize caffeine. In the study, coffee drinkers with this fast caffeine metabolism experienced the same benefits as those with slower metabolisms. This means that the caffeine was in their bodies for less time, so it shouldn’t have benefited them as much. Furthermore, decaffeinated coffee provided the same life extending benefits. If it was the caffeine in coffee that was helping us, decaffeinated coffee shouldn’t have had any benefits.

The Problem with Reports on Studies Like This

Confounding Factors.  Here is the headline: Researchers discover that students’ scores on a standardized math test can be predicted by their shoe size.  It works great as long as the researchers are doing their study in an elementary school.  The obvious confounding factor here is age.

The article compares the current coffee study and the vast number of food studies like it to  ‘testing for the benefits of Vitamin C while mixing it with cocaine’. Maybe living longer is not about the coffee at all, but the type of person who drinks it. In other words, people likely to be coffee drinkers are also likely to be the kind of people who live a lifestyle that makes them live longer.

Read more in the original article from MedPage Today.

About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Founder of NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph Figon has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. The RDNutriScape Instagram