Coffee & Cancer

Coffee & Cancer
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Coffee consumption is associated with a modest reduction of total cancer incidence.

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One of the reasons it’s so difficult to study the relationship between diet and cancer is because many dietary behaviors are associated with non-dietary behaviors. For example, the reason we used to think coffee drinking caused cancer was because people who drink coffee are more likely to have a cigarette in the other hand.

When you factor that out, though—for example, by looking at just nonsmokers who do or don’t drink coffee—we find that, if anything, coffee consumption may reduce the total cancer incidence.
Not by much, but, “Overall, according to the latest review, an increase in consumption of one cup of coffee per day was associated with about a 3% reduced risk of [cancers—especially] bladder cancer, breast [cancer], [mouth,] colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, [liver,] leukemic, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.”

Coffee beans aren’t really beans, but one is, after all, just soaking a powdered seed in some water. So, a reduction in cancer risk not that surprising.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to FCRebelo  and Urban Hafner via Wikimedia Commons, and Kukuruki.

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to study the relationship between diet and cancer is because many dietary behaviors are associated with non-dietary behaviors. For example, the reason we used to think coffee drinking caused cancer was because people who drink coffee are more likely to have a cigarette in the other hand.

When you factor that out, though—for example, by looking at just nonsmokers who do or don’t drink coffee—we find that, if anything, coffee consumption may reduce the total cancer incidence.
Not by much, but, “Overall, according to the latest review, an increase in consumption of one cup of coffee per day was associated with about a 3% reduced risk of [cancers—especially] bladder cancer, breast [cancer], [mouth,] colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, [liver,] leukemic, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.”

Coffee beans aren’t really beans, but one is, after all, just soaking a powdered seed in some water. So, a reduction in cancer risk not that surprising.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to FCRebelo  and Urban Hafner via Wikimedia Commons, and Kukuruki.

Doctor's Note

What about the caffeine though? Find out in What About the Caffeine? I still don’t recommend people drink coffee—not because it’s not healthy, but because there are even healthier choices. Coffee is like a banana—a common, convenient, plant-based food. If you have a choice, I’d encourage people to make healthier fruit choices (apples are better; berries are best), and choose a healthier beverage, like green tea. See my many videos on tea.

And note that the meta-analysis this video is based upon is open access, so you can download it by clicking on the link in the Sources Cited section, above.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Coffee CaveatsPoultry and Penis CancerGerson Therapy for Cancer?Avoid Cooked Meat CarcinogensTreating Parkinson’s Disease with Diet; and Breast Cancer & Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

40 responses to “Coffee & Cancer

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  1. What about the caffeine though? Find out in tomorrow’s video-of-the-day! I still don’t recommend people drink coffee—not because it’s not healthy, but because there are even healthier choices. Coffee is like a banana, a common convenient plant-based food. If you have a choice, I’d encourage people to make healthier fruit choices (apples are better, berries are best) and choose a healthier beverage, like green tea. See my 20 videos on tea, as well as the hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note that the meta-analysis this video is based upon is open access, so you can download it by clicking on the link above in the Sources Cited section.

  2. NICE! I only enjoy one cup of organic freshly ground coffee each a.m. (NO cigs! I’m from a family of smokers but I have never smoked)…and the rest of the day at work is filtered water and green and white tea with lemon. I have noticed that my SECOND cup of coffee just does NOT taste as good as my first so I have no problem with one cup to start my day.

    1. It seems as though your body may be telling you something. The fact that you capitalized the word NOT tells me that it REALLY doesn’t taste good. Maybe once you feed your addiction, your body tells you the truth about the substance.

  3. I guess it’s the acrylamides in the roasted coffee berries that make it unfavorable. A new trend is to drink raw coffee. Not sure how that would taste; sounds interesting. A “raw” flavor doesn’t sound too good, but, if it’s similar to a green tea, then maybe it would be.

  4.  I’m astounded by the sudden switch in opinion in the scientific community
    about the health effects of coffee. For as far back as I can remember all the news about coffee was bad and then suddenly, a few years ago, the news suddenly turned to all good. At the same time however, I’ve been
    following stories that tell another tale of the scientific community,
    one of deceit and betrayal of the public trust. It seems that most
    scientific studies are not and cannot be duplicated, that special
    interests (Big Coffee?) influence their outcome, that academics
    sometimes try to make a name for themselves by falsifying data, of
    payola and corruption and fraud, that if lies are told often enough and in a
    great enough variety of ways, they become the new facts. It seems to me that a
    little skepticism would serve us well. This is particularly true for
    coffee since few of us want to hear bad news about our addiction.

    1. I am astounded that someone who would be intelligent enough to be reading Dr. Greger would be myopic enough to through the baby out with the bath water, and throw scientific research out with it. In Psychology, we call that cognitive dissonance.

    2. I tend to thik just like you. And I wonder what about acidity, since coffee increases acidity in blood, and that’s not convenient for any condition

  5. Does anyone know how putting milk in your coffee affects the health value? This is how I drink my coffee, but the tea with milk studies worry me.

    1. I read somewhere that it negates the benefits of milk..basically the absorption of the clacium. But I do so anyway as I dun believe in the creamers.

      1. There are no benefits to dairy milk, just negative effects. The increased consumption of calcium doesn’t even benefit you as those who regularly drink dairy milk experience more bone loss and increased hip fracture rates. But dairy does negate the benefits of coffee because in the same way dairy blocks antioxidant absorption from tea and cocoa, so does it with coffee.

        1. Lol i am always weary of new trends and for sure we dont ‘need’ milk but there are no harms either (its much better than alcohol and pork ). Its not MILK thats harmful its the lack of Vitamin K2 in our diets thats puttinf us at risk for bone and heart health. Why do you think Americans suffer from high rate of osteoporosis and heart disease whilst consuming lots of dairy? And Japanese people consume dairy too but have significantly lower heart and bone conditions? ?

          Japanese eat lots of Natto which has high amounts of K2 which is scientifically PROVEN to help heart and bone health. When the body has no K2 and high calcium amount it starts displacing it in arteries instead of bones but K2 with vitamin D3 are calcium vehicles to deposit it where its needed!

          All the dairy scare mongering is nothing but marketing ploy to get ppl to drink SOY milks and almond milk and yada yada . Soy btw has high amounts if estrogen which is Bad news for the body (they even dont recommend using lots of soy while ur pregnant) so I’d consume full fat dairy anyday over estrogen cocktail anyday!

          Please know the facts for your own and others health

          1. Hi Sarah and Happy Thanksgiving! This is Dr. Daniela Sozanski PhD in Natural Medicine and Functional practitioner in Atlanta GA, also Moderator with Nutritionfacts. I agree with you comments regarding Natto and vitamin K2; however, However, I would like to present a different perspective in the soy discussion; the protective effect of soy against hormone related cancers has been amply demonstrated. Please check this out https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-block-breast-cancers-estrogen-producing-enzymes/.

  6. Does the benefits also include caffeine supplements? I don’t like coffee, but still need the ‘get up and go’ so I take a 200mg tablet in the morning. Works like a charm without any other added worry of brown teeth, stomach ache, or added pesticides. I used to also add sugar and coffeemate to my coffee, dreadfully unhealthy!

  7. Try telling that to my boss who just found out the bladder cancer just came back after having it removed 3 mths ago and he LOVES his coffee and he does not smoke.

  8. During these last two centuries, few substances have been the subject of such a large number of clinical studies that the coffee and up to this day, no one has demonstrated that it was dangerous for the health.
    On the contrary, numerous research studies have highlighted the beneficial effects of coffee and of its main active component: the caffeine. http://www.dietfoods7.com/

  9. For those talking about acrylamides the average cup of coffe has just 10 micrograms compare that to almost a thousand from a serving of french fries

    1. I think I saw here a couple of years ago, a video or blog saying better to drink medium or light roast because those have less acrylamides. But I can’t find the NF source. I would like to know, beccause I like Graffeo coffee and particularly the dark roast and do not drink it…

    1. Yep, probably! No antioxidants mixed with the horrible smoking. It’s probably why some of my chain smoking family members have managed to be relatively ok… they pair it with chain coffee drinking.

  10. I just saw this warning on the wall at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf here in CA. “PROPOSITION 65 WARNING – Chemicals known to the State of CA to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity, including acrylamide, are present in coffee, baked goods, and other food of beverages sold here. Acrylamide is not added to our products, but results from cooking, such as when coffee beans are roasted or baked goods are baked. As a result, acrylamide is present in our brewed coffee including coffee made at home or elsewhere from our beans, ground or instant coffee, baked goods or other food sold here, in grocery stores or other retail locations.”

    1. Steven, California has extremely strict labeling laws so there’s virtually a label on everything even when considered an irrelevant amount of something.

  11. I have never really acquired a taste for green or black tea. Since I drink coffee for enjoyment and a little caffeine punch to get my day started I guess I could drink decaffeinated. I have been told that decaffeinated coffee has less caffeine but is still caffeinated I have been brewing Dr Gregers Hibiscus tea. Does anyone know if there is caffeine in Hibiscus tea.

  12. What about unsmoked YerbaMate that has been allowed to cool down until it is not scalding? I drink it with a dash of lemon juice and prefer it to green tea.

    1. I would avoid yerba mate after seeing a video on it here. I’d do a search for it if you haven’t already. I mean why not choose a drink for health that you know is only beneficial and not harmful? I used to drink yerba mate and the benefits sounded awesome so I was disappointed but… I’d rather know the truth and make better decisions for it.

  13. In another video here, I remember seeing that coffee showed to have more antioxidants than green tea and I’ve read this elsewhere as well. But definitely a lot more caffeine. Plus I’d never replace the alpha wave goodness green tea brings about nor the unique benefits of its particular antioxidants. But I do enjoy some black coffee now and then and fully appreciate its phytonutrients as well as overall soothingness. I get kind of annoyed at the “omg, things are bad because they’re a ‘stimulant’!” people who think coffee is the devil because caffeine and cocoa is the devil too because of other “stimulant” factors and tea is a smaller, less evil devil because it also contains some caffeine. Lol, people can get ridiculous and yes, it is irritating when not amusing. To each their own for sure, but don’t angrily preach to the masses. That is all.

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