Never Drink More Than This Many Cups of Coffee a Week, Study Says
You don't have to give up coffee, but you may want to limit your intake.
Many of us can't get through the day without a cup of coffee. There's a reason for that, of course: Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can help you stay alert and prevent the onset of tiredness, as Healthline notes. But relying on coffee sometimes means drinking several cups of it every single day, and while that may be fine to a point, the over-consumption of coffee can have serious health consequences. One study has pinpointed the maximum amount of coffee you should drink in a week. Read on to find out if your coffee consumption falls under the recommended weekly intake—or if you might need to make some changes.
People under 55 shouldn't drink more than 28 cups of coffee a week.
A 2013 study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings analyzed how coffee consumption affects people's health, depending on the amount they consume. The researchers observed more than 43,700 generally healthy individuals—meaning they did not have a prior history of heart attack, stroke, or cancer—for an average of 17 years. During the study period, 2,512 deaths occurred. Based on these results, men and women under the age of 55 who drank more than 28 cups of coffee each week had a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality than those who did not drink coffee, at more than a 50 percent increased risk.
"It seems appropriate to suggest that younger people avoid heavy coffee consumption," the researchers concluded.
Men of any age may need to limit weekly coffee intake as well.
You may be able to drink more coffee if you are a woman over the age of 55. According to the study, there were no adverse outcomes with higher coffee consumption for women 55 years and older—but there was for men. The researchers found that men of all ages had a 21 percent increased risk of all-cause mortality when they drank more than 28 cups of coffee each week.
"However, coffee consumption was not associated with all-cause mortality risk among women" of all ages, the researchers noted. They also indicated that the all-cause mortality risk was even greater for men who had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more and drank more than 28 cups of coffee per week, but given the sample size, the researchers weren't able to further investigate this association.
Researchers have debated whether or not coffee is good for adults.
Caffeine has been touted for its health benefits in the past, but excess consumption clearly has its risks. According to the study, coffee has potential adverse effects because of caffeine's ability to stimulate the release of the hormone epinephrine, inhibit insulin activity, and increase blood pressure and homocysteine levels.
"There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine, and coffee specifically, with some reports suggesting toxicity and some even suggesting beneficial effects," cardiologist Carl Lavie, MD, co-author for the study, said in a statement.
The researchers for the 2013 study say genetics may also play a role in why coffee could be harmful—which could explain why men of all ages are affected but not women. "Research also suggests that heavy coffee drinkers may experience additional risk through potential genetic mechanisms or because of confounding through the deleterious effects of other risk factors with which coffee drinking is associated," the researchers stated.
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Coffee consumption in the U.S. has increased over the years.
The National Coffee Association (NCA) says the amount of adults in the U.S. drinking coffee has increased over the years. According to a 2020 study from the organization, 7 in 10 U.S. adults drink coffee every week and 62 percent drink it every single day. This is a 5 percent increase in overall coffee consumption for the U.S. when compared to 2015. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults keep their caffeine intake at 400 milligrams or less each day. This is equivalent to about four cups of coffee a day—which is exactly 28 cups of coffee a week.