Constantly I hear people telling me about the dangers of coffee, only to turn around and discuss the benefits that coffee has on our bodies. I have heard conflicting views from multiple people regarding whether coffee is healthy for one’s heart or not. Trying to figure out whether coffee can have any possible negative effects on one’s health would call for an extended synopsis on the topic that would involve a lot of moving parts and different possibilities. In the case of this blog, it is more practical to study one possible effect of coffee rather than attempt to decipher whether the beverage is beneficial to one’s health overall. I wanted to look at the relationship between coffee, caffeine, and coronary heart disease, since that seems to be the most disputed topic in this case. I wanted to look at multiple studies and, in the case that they do not concur, I wanted to attempt to figure out why.
While searching through multiple databases, I came upon a study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA). The study, which ran for a span of twenty years and included more than 44,000 women and 84,000 men seems to be one of the most extensive studies in the field (American Heart Association). The goals of the study were to decipher whether or not coffee consumption could have an effect on coronary heart disease in men and women. Confounding variables such as age, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, history with type II diabetes, and many more were taken into consideration (pg. 2046). One thing that should be noted about this study is that it measures a wide variety of possible outcomes of coffee consumption. With this being the case, one should always be aware of what is commonly known as the Texas sharpshooter problem. Looking at the published study, there are dozens of P-values for different instances. There is no proof that the Texas sharpshooter problem exists in this study, however it’s always important to keep it in mind. Regardless of whether an individual consumed caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, the study found no link between the drink and the risk of coronary heart disease. In the conclusion of the study, a meta-analysis with the similar results was referenced to prove the point of the AHA study.
A meta-analysis on the topic published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) came to a similar conclusion as the American Heart Association. There seems to be very little if any relationship between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease. The researchers at BMJ included 15 cohort studies and eight case-control studies in their evaluation.
The results of these two studies fail to reject the null hypothesis which is that there is no substantial correlation between coffee and CHD. If the conclusion was in fact a false negative, we would not know the true probability of it being a false negative. For myself, these studies are reassuring considering that I am an avid coffee drinker. Although there does not seem to be a correlation between coffee consumption and CHD, I still recommend that you drink coffee in moderation. Like many other foods, excessive coffee consumption could possibly lead to both short and long term issues.
“Coffee Consumption and Coronary Heart Disease in Men and Women A Prospective Cohort Study.” American Heart Association., , , , , , and American Heart Association, circ.ahajournals.org/content/113/17/2045.full.
“Does coffee drinking increase the risk of coronary heart disease? Results from a meta-analysis.” Ichiro Kawachi, Graham A Colditz, Catherine B StoneBritish Medical Journal. SIRS Discoverer, heart.bmj.com/content/72/3/269.full.pdf+html. Accessed 13 Oct. 2016.