In a report by the World Health Organization published on Wednesday, It appears that coffee has been cleared of its “possible carcinogenic” label and may even help prevent uterine and liver cancer. In an interesting twist, the same study suggests that drinks should not be consumed “very hot” as they likely do cause cancer.
Coffee good, “very hot” beverages bad
In a report published in Lancet Oncology on Wednesday, the WHO rubbished a previous panel’s determination that coffee was “possibly carcinogenic in 1991, which also linked java with bladder cancer. In a rare reversal a group of 23 international scientists who poured over more than 1,000 studies, not only did the group exonerate coffee has a possible cause of bladder cancer, but determined that coffee has many health benefits and said that coffee could help in the fight against liver cancer and uterine cancer. Additionally, coffee drinkers seem to have lower rates of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fewer neurological disorders.
However, for those that drink scalding coffee, tea or mate they may be increasing their chances of developing esophageal cancer.
Even prior to Wednesday’s publication of the new study, many health experts have gone on record discussing the health benefits of coffee and this study essentially validated those claim.
While reducing the risk of uterine and liver cancer, coffee was also keeping people who consume it alive longer while absolving the drink in the promotion of well over 20 other cancers.
Moderate consumption, the most helpful coffee consumption, is considered to be three to five cups a day.
Coffee was in some nasty company when it was listed as “possibly carcinogenic” along with diesel fuel and lead. This was certainly a bit off the deep end and was seemingly cleared up in this study which saw Dana Loomis, the deputy head of the WHO’s program that classifies carcinogens, who served as the studies lead author.
“There is less of a concern today than there was before,” said Dr. Loomis in conclusion.
The group showed that coffee really fights liver cancer saying that “for each one cup per day increment,” liver cancer risks are reduced by 15%.
Geoffrey Kabat, a cancer epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, believes the group could have given more credence to the benefits of coffee.
“What the evidence shows over all is that coffee drinking is associated with either reduced risk of several cancers or certainly no clear increase in other cancers,” he said. “There’s a strong signal that this is probably not something that we need to be worrying about.”
He thinks that the group’s report in 1991 was ridiculous and should never have been published as it caused a bit of a scare for coffee drinkers when released.
“I really feel that it’s not contributing to the public good because it’s stoking these concerns,” he said.
Back to hot beverages
Over 130 million Americans drink coffee each day and are joined by others around the world making it head a list that comes in at the top under tea which is the world’s most consumed beverage. Coffee has come along ways when you consider that New York City’s drink of choice for breakfast two-and-a-half centuries ago was beer.
Loomis and the others did point out that one should show a little patience before drinking hot beverages over 149 degrees Fahrenheit as they are “probably carcinogenic.”
The biggest abusers of this temperature threshold are mate drinkers primarily in South America.
“Those who are concerned should just wait a few minutes more before drinking their drink,” Dr. Loomis said.