Mystery Committee: Itâ€™s official, Americans should drink more coffee
Janill Gilbert stashed this in Food
Can anyone name this 40+ year old "Committee/Panel"?
When the nation's top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the groupÂ did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say isÂ prettyÂ surprising.
Not only canÂ people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might evenÂ want to consider drinking a bit more.
The panel citedÂ minimalÂ health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It alsoÂ said that consumingÂ as manyÂ as five cups ofÂ coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
"We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits," said Miriam Nelson,Â a professor at Tufts University and one of the committeeâ€™s members. "SpecificallyÂ when you're drinking more than a couple cups per day."
That's great news if you're already drinking between three and five cups each day, which Nelson and the rest of the panel considerÂ a "moderate" level of consumption. But you know what? You probably aren't, because people in this country actually tend to consume a lot less than that.Â On average, Americans only drink about one cup of coffee per day, according to data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture. Even when Americans drank the most coffee they ever have, back in 1946, they still only drank two cups a day on average.
Interestingly enough, it isn't justÂ people in the United States whoÂ drink less-than-moderate amounts of joe each day. No country in the world downs more than 3 cups each day per capita, accordingÂ toÂ market research firm Euromonitor. The country that drinks the mostâ€”Netherlandsâ€”still falls more than half a cup short of the three cup threshold each day.
Now this doesn't mean that drinking between three and five cups of coffee per day correlates will necessarilyÂ make you healthier or stronger.Â It might. ButÂ even if it doesn't, it's unlikely to do anything other than make you more alert and awake.
"I donâ€™t want to get into implying coffee cures cancer -- nobody thinks that," Tom Brenna, a member of the committee and a nutritionist at Cornell University, told BloombergÂ on Thursday. "But there is no evidence for increased risk, if anything, the other way around."
The decision, which broke the committee'sÂ more than 40 years of silence on coffee, was driven by heightened interest in the caffeinated beverage as well asÂ a growingÂ anxiety about potential health risks associated with it, according to Nelson. It remains to be seen whether the Department of Health and Human Services orÂ the Agriculture Department will take the committee's recommendations for coffee intake to heart and include them in the official dietary guidelines update, which is due out later this year. But it's rare for the government agencies to ignore the panel's advice, soÂ it's fair to expect a federal endorsement for drinking coffeeâ€”as much as five cups a day no lessâ€”to be just around the bend.
I had not heard of that committee but I had just learned that warm water with honey and lemon is better: