are among the top causes of death from cardiovascular diseases in the US. People who experience heart failure suffer from fatigue,
, trouble walking, climbing stairs or performing other daily activities.
‘Heart failure risk over time decreased between 5% and 12% for each cup of caffeinated coffee consumed each day.’
This study analyzed data on self-reported dietary information of 21,000 Americans from three previous studies – the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study. Participants were followed for at least 10 years.
The analysis showed that the risk of heart failure over time decreased between 5% and 12% for each cup of coffee consumed each day in two of the previous studies.
While the risk remained unchanged when people drank one cup of coffee, when the cups of coffee per day increased to two or more, the risk decreased by 30%, in Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.
While there was no link found between heart failure and decaf coffee in the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Framingham Heart Study found that decaf was associated with a significantly higher risk of heart failure.
Findings also showed that caffeine from any source was associated with decreased heart failure risk.
Senior author Dr. David Kao states, “The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising because coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be ‘bad’ for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc.”
Limitation of the Study
The AHA warns that all four studies (three previous and this new one) were done with plain black coffee. Still, many people add dairy, sugars, flavors or non-dairy creamers high in calories, added sugar and fat to their coffees which negate any benefits.
Dr. Michael Goyfman, director of clinical cardiology, warns that since coffee intake was self-reported, it is prone to many inaccuracies. He further questions the amount of coffee – a cup of coffee is only 8 ounces (236 ml) in most studies, while a standard “grande” cup in coffee shops is double that.
What to be Cautious About?
The brewing part of coffee making also plays a vital role in health consequences. The French press, Turkish coffee or the boiled Scandinavian coffee all fail to catch cafestol (the compound in the oily part of coffee), unlike filtered coffee, which can increase the bad cholesterol (Low Density Lipoproteins).
Studies have shown that the consumption of excessive quantities of caffeine can be dangerous for certain populations.
A 2017 study showed that high coffee consumption (4 plus cups) during pregnancy was associated with low birth weight, preterm birth, and stillbirths.
Coffee also increased the risk of bone fractures in women who were already prone to them.
People with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes should check with a doctor before adding caffeine to their diets.
The American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that children and adolescents should not drink colas, coffees, energy drinks, or other beverages with any amount of caffeine.
Dr. Guy Mintz, director of cardiovascular health, states the study results are not strong enough to support increasing one’s coffee intake.
Studies have shown that too much coffee was linked to the stiffening of a key part of the heart’s aorta, he adds.
“Patients who do not drink coffee should not start,” Mintz advises, “and patients should certainly not start consuming supplements with caffeine such as 5-Hour Energy or Red Bull, etc., to reduce their risk of heart failure.”
Penny Kris-Etherton, immediate past chairperson of an AHA sub-committee, says,“It is important to be mindful that caffeine is a stimulant and consuming too much may be problematic – causing jitteriness and sleep problems.”
She advises to enjoy coffee in moderation and as part of an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern meeting recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/nonfat dairy products, and low in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
- Laura M. Stevens, Erik Linstead, Jennifer L. Hall, David P. Kao. Association Between Coffee Intake and Incident Heart Failure Risk. Circulation: Heart Failure, 2021; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.119.006799