Coffee May Make You Less Likely to Die

New study reviewed 400K older adults over 14 years
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2012 8:16 AM CDT
Updated May 20, 2012 6:51 AM CDT
Coffee May Make You Less Likely to Die
In this Wednesday, March 21, 2012 file photo, a person reaches for a cup of coffee before a meeting in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(Newser) – Trying to kick the coffee habit? Don't bother. A new study of some 400,000 adults between ages 50 and 71 found that coffee may actually make you less likely to die. Over the course of 14 years, those who partook had a lower risk of death than those who didn't. And the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, gave top marks to those who drank an average of four to five cups daily: Those men had a 12% lower risk of death, compared to a 6% risk for those who had one cup. Women fared even better, with four- to five-cup drinkers seeing a 16% lower mortality rate.

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Interestingly, the data initially seemed to show the opposite, reports the Los Angeles Times. But researchers realized that coffee drinkers are more likely to be smokers, too, and adjusted for that, leading to the more favorable results. And bonus: Those results applied to drinkers of mainly decaf, too. That led one epidemiologist not involved in the study to note that "if these are real biological effects, they seem to [have] to do with the substances in coffee that are not caffeine." But since the research didn't prove causation, he recommends further study. One tiring-sounding approach: Test each of coffee's 1,000-or-so compounds to gauge their individual effects. (Read more coffee stories.)

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