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Coffee and Cancer

If you are a coffee fan, pour yourself another cup while you read this!

More than half of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. Despite the fact that Americans are famous for running on coffee, the US is not even in the top 15 countries list for the highest coffee consumption. European countries such as the Netherlands have the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world.


Cancer and Coffee: Is there a link?

There has been a long-standing debate whether drinking too much coffee might cause cancer. In 1991, the WHO classified coffee in the “possibly carcinogenic group”.  However, there is a good news for all coffee lovers: this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that coffee does NOT cause cancer! [i].

23 scientists from 10 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to evaluate 1000 observational and experimental studies about the carcinogenic effects of drinking coffee and very hot beverages. Not only was there no link between coffee causing cancer, they discovered that coffee may reduce your risk of colon, rectum, and breast cancer [ii].

Coffee has been found to be beneficial to the body through various ways, of which are listed [iii]:

  1. Coffee may decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  2. Coffee may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  3. Coffee may be protective against gallstones.
  4. Coffee is associated with a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.

Scientists suggest that drinking hot beverages above 65 degrees Fahrenheit may be a concern.  However, there is a need for more substantial studies to prove the link between hot beverages and cancer.


[i] Triggle, N. Cancer risk from coffee downgraded. BBC News. Accessed at: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-36540417
[ii] Loomis, D; Guyton, K.Z; Grosse, Y; etal. Carcinogenity of drinking coffee, mate, and very hot beverages. (2016). The Lancet
[iii] Other healthy beverage options. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Accessed at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/other-healthy-beverage-options/


Jessica Iannotta, MS, RD, CSO, CDN

Jessica is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO). She studied nutrition at Cornell University and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. She obtained her Master's degree through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Jessica has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology settings since 2001 in the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Jessica is in charge of all operations including clinical and culinary operations ranging from menu development to evidence-based website content, relationships with registered dietitians and social workers and developing processes and protocols for intake, management and outcomes analysis of patients.


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