Public Release: 

New research: Coffee not associated with lifestyle diseases

University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Danish researchers are the first in the world to have used our genes to investigate the impact of coffee on the body. The new study shows that coffee neither increases nor decreases the risk of lifestyle diseases.

We love coffee - and we drink a lot of it. New research from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital shows that coffee neither increases nor decreases the risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The researchers have based their study on genes, as our genes play a role in how much coffee we drink in the course of a day. The study has just been published in the well-reputed International Journal of Epidemiology and is based on DNA and information about coffee drinking and lifestyle diseases from 93,000 Danes from the Copenhagen General Population Study.

"We are the first in the world to have investigated the relationship with genes associated with a lifelong high consumption of coffee. These genes are completely independent of other lifestyle factors, and we can therefore conclude that drinking coffee in itself is not associated with lifestyle diseases," says medical student Ask Tybjaeg Nordestgaard from the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

Genes determine our thirst for coffee

The researchers have designed a unique study, where they have looked into a number of genes that affect our desire for coffee. If you have the special coffee genes, you may be drinking more coffee than those not having the genes. This allows the researchers to see whether a higher coffee consumption increases or decreases the risk of developing lifestyle diseases.

"We can now see that the coffee genes are surprisingly not associated with a risk of developing type 2 diabetes or obesity. This suggests that drinking coffee neither causes nor protects against these lifestyle diseases," says Boerge Nordestgaard, clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and senior physician at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

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