Drink Up: Coffee Won't Likely Hurt Your Waistline

High coffee intake not linked to obesity, diabetes


A cup of coffee a day won't necessarily keep the doctor away. But it may not invite him over either.

A new study from Denmark found that, regardless of the amount consumed, coffee had no causal effect on obesity, type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. However, it also didn't safeguard against these lifestyle diseases.

"We can now see that the coffee genes are surprisingly not associated with a risk of developing type 2 diabetes or obesity,” said Børge Nordestgaard, PhD, a clinical professor at the University of Copenhagen, in a press release. "This suggests that drinking coffee neither causes nor protects against these lifestyle diseases."

According to Dr. Nordestgaard and team, past research has found that certain genes are linked to higher coffee consumption. When people have these genes, they tend to drink a larger amount of coffee on a regular basis than those without the genes.

In what was an unprecedented study, these researchers looked at the specific genes that influence the thirst for coffee and how they may or may not be linked to lifestyle diseases.

Dr. Nordestgaard and team used data from the Copenhagen General Population Study to look at the DNA, coffee drinking habits and health of 93,000 Danes.

The data included information on blood pressure, triglycerides (a type of fat that can increase the risk of heart disease), cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar).

Participants' waist circumference, weight and height were also measured.

Dr. Nordestgaard and team found that coffee intake levels did not influence glucose levels.

However, while high coffee intake was linked with a low risk of the other lifestyle diseases, there wasn't any genetic evidence to back up that link.

"We are the first in the world to have investigated the relationship with genes associated with a lifelong high consumption of coffee," said Tybjærg Nordestgaard, a medical student at Herley Hospital in Denmark, in a press release. "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.”

This study was published April 13 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Herlev Hospital and Copenhagen University Hospital funded this research.

No conflicts of interest were disclosed.