Many of use do not feel human without our daily coffee fix however how much coffee is too much? Research this topic and you’re bound to find conflicting opinions, so it can be difficult to get a satisfying answer. Keep in mind too that coffee, and caffeine, affects people differently. One size does not fit all.
Four shots of espresso might be the minimum daily intake for one caffeine addict, another might feel they can scale walls after two lattes. Whichever category you fall into, there’s no harm in having some scientific evidence to justify your java habits.
House Call Doctor has previously written about the World Health Organisation’s research on coffee. Now, we’ve got the down low from other experts in the “yes” camp. So how much coffee is too much?
Go ahead, have 5 cups: Harvard nutritionist
Vasanti Malik, a nutrition research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, fully supports the consumption of multiple coffees as part of a healthy diet. To be clear, that’s coffees which aren’t loaded with sweeteners, syrups and whipped cream.
He told New York Magazine coffee contains “a number of healthful vitamins and nutrients” and can help reduce the risk of “diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mortality”.
Here’s the best part. “These benefits are seen when a person consumes up to five cups of coffee per day.”
Doctor Aaron Carroll from the Indiana University School of Medicine combed through a lot of data and came to the same conclusion.
“It’s way past time that we stopped viewing coffee itself as something we need to cut back on,” he said.
Well, if he insists.
How much coffee is too much?
The Mayo Clinic released a report in 2013 that found consuming more than an average of four cups a day could be deterimental to people aged younger than 55.
“Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease,” wrote Doctor Donald Hensrud from the Mayo Clinic’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition.
“In fact, most studies find an association between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality, although this may not be true in younger people who drink large amounts of coffee.”
But, four cups a day, that’s reasonable right?
The health benefits, if we stick to that average, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Protection against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer
- Improved cognitive function
- Decreased risk of depression.
Listen to your body
Although it’s tempting, try not to start slamming down more cups than you’d usually have in a day just because coffee science says you can.
Doctor Rob Van Dam, also from the Harvard School of Public Health, reminds us to listen to our bodies.
“If people think they experience detrimental symptoms related to too much caffeine, such as difficulty sleeping or nervousness, they should try reducing their intake,” he said.