- Research from Queen Mary University of London found drinking as many as 25 cups of coffee daily is not as harmful to the heart and the circulatory system as previously thought. The study was presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference.
- The study looked at more than 8,000 people in the U.K. and examined whether drinking coffee increases arterial stiffness. The researchers said in the report that previous studies that found drinking coffee leads to stiffer arteries are inconsistent and limited by low-participant numbers.
- Queen Mary University of London researchers studied three groups — those drinking fewer than one cup of coffee daily, those consuming between one and three cups daily, and those who drank more than three cups per day. There was no increased stiffening of arteries linked to those who drank up to 25 cups per day when compared to those drinking less than one cup daily.
This latest study shows coffee isn't as bad for the arteries as previous studies suggested. But the researchers noted limitations in the study, saying it would help to study those in the highest coffee consumption group — who averaged five cups daily — in order to arrive at recommendations for safe limits.
It's unlikely many people drink 25 cups of coffee per day — although some in the study did — but coffee consumption is not slowing down. According to a 2018 poll from Nestlé and Morning Consult, almost 65% of coffee drinkers consume it daily, and 70% of them would prefer to skip breakfast than do without it.
Although this latest study from Queen Mary University of London noted there could be limitations and more research is needed, it will likely be beneficial for the coffee market. It could reassure health-oriented consumers who appreciate their daily caffeine jolt from the beverage that it is safe to consume, as well as underscore the wisdom of companies who are investing in manufacturing and marketing coffee products.
Despite some prior studies questioning the safety of coffee, consumption has not slowed — providing evidence that it's going to probably take a blockbuster finding to wean people off of the popular beverage.
Statista research projected coffee sales were expected to hit nearly $13 billion this past year and increase at an compound annual growth rate of 3.1% from 2018 through 2021. The U.S. is the leading global consumer of coffee, with Americans drinking about 400 million cups per day.
With coffee consumption continuing to increase, more companies have invested in the beverage. Nestlé is one of many companies that are looking to the lucrative coffee segment. In 2017, the Swiss manufacturer bought a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee and acquired Chameleon Cold-Brew. Smucker's Folgers brand introduced a higher-end version of 100% arabica coffee and Coca-Cola announced it would purchase Costa Coffee for $5.1 billion.
These firms have good reason to jump on the coffee bandwagon as it's more popular than ever. According to a survey from the National Coffee Association cited by Reuters, 64% of American adults drink a cup of coffee every day — up 2% from 2017. This is the highest level since 2012.
And the London study isn't the only recent research to find positive health connections from coffee consumption. A study last year found drinking up to eight cups per day doesn't increase the risk of death. Additionally, Alabama researchers said pain tolerance increased with caffeine consumption, while another recent study found being exposed to certain cues relating to coffee can focus the mind and enhance concentration without even having to drink it.
And the wins for the coffee industry keep on coming. The safety of coffee has been a topic of debate in California since a state court judge ruled last spring that the beverage needs to carry a cancer warning because of the presence of acrylamide. But the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment recently released its own finding that coffee doesn't pose a significant cancer risk and that rule, which will remove the warning requirement, got signed this week, according to The Wall Street Journal.