Although the American Society for Nutritions popular controversy session at Experimental Biology 2007 focuses on the health effects of coffee drinking, panel chair Dr. James Coughlin, a toxicology/safety consultant at Coughlin & Associates, says that recent advances in epidemiologic and experimental knowledge have transformed many of the negative health myths about coffee drinking into validated health benefits.
Indeed, panel co-chair Dan Steffen, who follows coffee and health issues in the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs group of Kraft Foods, note that the controversy is often to educate a wider audience about this transformation in understanding.
Coffee is among the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and Dr. Coughlin says that the preponderance of scientific evidence - some by the panelists - suggests that moderate coffee consumption (3-5 cups per day) may be associated with reduced risk of certain disease conditions, such as Parkinsons disease. Some research in neuropharamacology suggests that one cup of coffee can halve the risk of Parkinsons disease. Other studies have found it reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease, kidney stones, gallstones, depression and even suicide.
Dr. Coughlin and two distinguished researchers discussed some of the benefits - and a couple of the remaining increased risk factors (possible increase in blood pressure and plasma homocysteine) - on April 30 at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, DC.
Dr. Rob van Dam, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School, studies the link between diet and the development of type 2 diabetes. Worldwide, an estimated 171 million persons have diabetes, mostly type 2 diabetes, and an alarming increase to 366 million persons is expected for the year 2030. While increased physical activity and restriction of energy intake can substantially reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, he believes insight into
Contact: Sylvia Wrobel
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology