Drinking Coffee May Provide Protection Against Heart Disease and Other Illnesses

July 21, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Mindy Weinstein
IFT Media Relations
312.604.0231
mweinstein@ift.org


CHICAGO -- Drinking several cups of coffee each day does not pose a greater risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and may even provide some protection against those illnesses, according to an expert panel at the 2010 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo®.

Researchers presented data from several studies that all point to the benefits of drinking coffee. One study of Dutch coffee-drinkers found a 50 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adults who consume seven or more cups per day, said Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition, epidemiology and medicine in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He noted that the study was adjusted for lifestyle factors that are more prevalent in that group, such as smoking, consuming red meat and higher body mass index.

YiFang Chu, PhD, who leads the global coffee health and wellness research group at Kraft Foods Global Inc., pointed to an April 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found coffee may modulate inflammation, oxidative stress and body fat, all of which can contribute to disease if left unchecked.

Besides heart disease and diabetes, research also has linked coffee with a decreased risk in Alzheimer's disease, particularly in people who drink coffee in midlife, said Joan Lindsay, PhD, an epidemiologist consultant who has worked with Health Canada and the University of Ottawa. A Finnish study that followed up 21 years later with midlife coffee-drinkers found a 65 percent reduction in Alzheimer's disease, she said.

Researchers agreed more study is needed before specific recommendations can be made. But they agree caffeine probably is not the only reason for the potential benefits, given that those same benefits are not present in people who drink other caffeinated beverages. In addition, decaffeinated coffee appears to offer health benefits as well.

For more information, please contact:

Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition, epidemiology and medicine in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, frank.hu@channing.harvard.edu

YiFang Chu, PhD, who leads the global coffee health and wellness research group at Kraft Foods Global Inc., YiFang.Chu@Kraft.com

Joan Lindsay, PhD, epidemiologist consultant, jlindsay@uottawa.ca

 

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About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.

For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.