Heavy Coffee Use Increases Chances of Death

People under 55 who drink at least 28 cups of coffee per week had a two-fold increased risk of death.

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Put down the cappucinos, America.

Younger adults who drink coffee in large amounts have a significantly higher chance of death, according to a new study from a multicenter team of researchers.

In a study of more than 40,000 individuals, researchers found that people who drink more than 28 cups per week (that's about four a day) have a 21 percent increased mortality risk and a more than 50 percent increased risk if under 55.

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"There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine, and coffee specifically, with some reports suggesting toxicity and some even suggesting beneficial effects," said co-author Carl Lavie, of the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. Drinking coffee is part of a daily routine for many people – researchers estimate that nearly 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the United States.

More than 60 percent of American adults say they drink coffee every day, consuming just more than three cups a day, according to the National Coffee Association.

Doctors have also touted its potential benefits. Studies have shown that drinking coffee can help protect against Parkinson's disease, Type 2 diabetes and liver cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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But as the old saying goes, "Everything in moderation."

Coffee consumption has also been linked to different chronic health conditions such as heart disease and high cholesterol, and has a complex mixture of chemicals that can lead to high blood pressure and increased levels of the amino acid homocysteiene, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

Thus, the benefits may be counterbalanced by the potentially negative effects of coffee consumption, according to co-authors Junxiu Liu and Xuemei Sui, of the University of South Carolina.

The researchers examined the effects of coffee consumption on all causes of death, as well as deaths that resulted from cardiovascular disease. And although 32 percent of the deaths were the result of cardiovascular disease, there was no significant association with the doses of coffee in those men and women, regardless of their age.

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