They bring together evidence from over 200 studies and find that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of death and getting heart disease compared with drinking no coffee. Umbrella reviews combine previous meta-analyses and give a high level summary of research findings. In fact, the largest benefit was for diseases of the liver, including cirrhosis.
Researchers say, "Drinking coffee is more likely to benefit health than harm it".
Tom Sanders, emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London, said: "While the conclusion is reassuring to coffee consumers, there are some limitations".
Those who don't drink coffee are found to have lower risks of premature death, especially those who drink up to three cups a day. They also urge coffee drinkers to stick to "healthy coffees", so your Venti Iced Toffee Nut Latte with Hazelnuts and White Chocolate Mocha Sauce might be off the menu.
"Should doctors recommend drinking coffee to prevent disease?"
Across nearly all health outcomes reviewed, coffee consumption was found to either not increase risk or actually decrease risk to negative health outcomes. And while we credit a caffeine hit for helping us wake up, perk up and shape up, we often get the coffee-guilts about exactly how much we're drinking.
The ideal intake found by the umbrella review was equal to or less than 400 mg of caffeine per day, or essentially no more than four to five standard cups.
There are also "beneficial associations" with conditions ranging from diabetes, to gallstones to gout, as well as links to lower risks of Parkinson's disease, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. If you're expecting, for example, you might want to skip it; the study found that high coffee consumption in pregnant people was associated with low birth weights, preterm births in the first and second trimesters, and pregnancy loss.