LEST ANYONE think I’m all hung up on writing about coffee, well, just talk to the dadgum doctors. They keep doing studies that generally put me in the position of defending my caffeine intake in this space. When they tell me I can’t have my two cups of coffee in the morning, I figure they’ve stopped preaching and started meddling.
And, now they’ve turned namby-pamby with the latest research released in mid-May. The meddling medicos are looking into my morning sassering, blowing and sipping and proclaiming in what the news media calls “a big study” that coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer.
Well, thank you very much, Doc. After scaring the bejabbers out of us caffeine addicts for years by saying it was a guilty pleasure that might do harm, y’all have decided, regular or decaf, we coffee slurpers just might live a little longer than the sissies that don’t drink that black wake-up elixir.
What’s more, this study was directed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). (I thought coffee was blamed for causing heart problems. Are they saying now that it may cause cancer?) NCI was joined by AARP (my guys) in sponsoring the research.
But really, the head cancer guy said, “There may actually be a modest benefit of coffee drinking.”
The report also said caffeine didn’t play a role in this new study’s results.
These folks keep twisting and turning us every way but loose with all their contradictions.
They used to say whiskey and alcohol would kill you. Now, there are those who say a little alcohol (preferably red wine, if I understood correctly) will help your heart. I’m reminded of the drunk who, upon seeing a dead worm in a bottle of alcohol, said alcohol killed worms, so it was good for you, but that doesn’t fit into this research either.
THIS LATEST report pointed out that coffee contains thousands of things that can affect health. For instance, helpful antioxidants and we’re told that’s the good stuff. Then, they turn right around and say there are tiny amounts of substances linked to cancer.
Some studies indicate coffee can raise LDL (the bad cholesterol) and blood pressure at least in the short term. Of course, bad cholesterol and high blood pressure can raise the chances of heart disease.
However, (and here we go again with the contradictions) one researcher said each cup of coffee per day edges up chances of living a little longer.
Plus, they sneaked another upsetting variable into the report: People who had heart disease, a stroke or cancer weren’t included in this report. Neither were people with diet extremes (too many or too few calories per day). This study involved 400,000 people, began in 1995 and involved AARP members ages 50-71 in California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania plus the cities of Atlanta and Detroit. Apparently they are prejudiced against Texans since none were used in the study.
THEN, THE report throws another upsetter at you: coffee drinkers tend to smoke, drink more alcohol, eat more red meat and exercise less than non-coffee drinkers. Aha! That must be why they didn’t use Texans.
Of the 402,260 survey participants, just over 10 percent (42,000) drank no coffee. At the other extreme, 15,000 drank six cups or more a day. The majority had two or three cups.
None of this proves coffee makes people live longer, only that the two seem related. It won’t prove cause and effect because it was based strictly on observing people’s habits and resulting health.
And, after all of those numbers, the survey conductors “can’t say how much extra life coffee might buy.”
Maybe I’ll just pour a little wine in my morning coffee and do a double-dip “treatment.”
Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor—publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.