Coffee junkies rejoiced last week when a study suggested that drinking between three to five cups of coffee a day can actually be healthy for you, correlating to lower mortality rates for a number of common diseases. But now, those jerks (sorry, jerks!) over at the Washington Post are questioning the accuracy of these findings.
The Post’s premise: Not all people are created equal, and while some may be predisposed to seeing benefits from drinking coffee, as many as half of us may be genetically-inclined to not respond to coffee so well. According to their article, “Scientists have identified at least one specific location in the genome … that determines whether a person processes caffeine quickly or slowly. And in those with the gene variant for handling caffeine slowly – roughly 50 percent of people – more coffee has been linked in separate studies to a higher risk of hypertension and heart attacks.”
Based on this genetic variance, The Post questions whether any advice on caffeine is applicable to everyone. “There are spectacular metabolic differences in people and to expect that coffee will have the same health effects on everyone is absurd,” Sander Greenland, an expert in research methodology at UCLA, told the Post. “They want to come out with the generalized recommendations? It’s laughable.”
Meanwhile, Harvard’s Frank Hu, who was on the panel that gave the latest coffee recommendations, questions the gene theory. “Right now, there is limited evidence to recommend different diets or foods based on genotypes,” he said.
Either way, how many people are really out there drinking more coffee because they think it promotes a healthier way to live? I feel like most people drinking three to five cups of coffee are doing it because it’s the only way they can live.