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.

27 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.




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  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.




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  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.




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  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.




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    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.




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    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




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  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.




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    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.




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  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!




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  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.




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  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/




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  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




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    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…




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  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.”




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  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.




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  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.




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