Last updated on September 13th, 2017
First, there came a big meta-analysis of thousands of scientific papers on the effects of caffeine on humans, which found that 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day (that is, a total of 400 mg of caffeine) probably won’t hurt you. Unless you’re pregnant, in which case you should drink less — 2 or 3 cups a day (300 mg of caffeine).
If you’re a kid, you shouldn’t be drinking coffee at all, or any other highly caffeinated beverages.
Given that I’m not (A) a child nor (B) with child, this study confirms that I can continue my habit of drinking five or six cups of java per day. Yes, that’s a little more than the meta-analysis deems safe for the average adult, but I figure the researchers were being conservative.
In fact, they acknowledge that even at intake levels around 800 mg of caffeine per day “there are no consistently reported effects on mortality.” They also give a nod to studies showing some protective effects of drinking lots of coffee.
In truth, I don’t need science to tell me to drink coffee, and these scientists weren’t actually doing that, anyway, but it’s nice to be on the side of rational and systematic inquiry.
Next, a second meta-analysis found that there is no association between consuming dairy products, whether high or low in fat, and suffering cardiovascular or heart disease. (Here’s a link to the original report via SpringerLink.)
I used to drink skimmed milk by the gallon. Now it turns out I might as well have had the full-fat milk, or for that matter, heavy cream.
Well, in fact, the study did not specifically access the association between consuming cream and, say, dying prematurely, focusing instead on milk, yogurt and cheese. But one of the researchers was quoted in The Guardian to the effect that consuming saturated fats doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
That’s good enough for me. So I’m thinking I can risk adding cream to my coffee, just as I’ve been doing for the last six years, anyway, in anticipation that science would eventually catch up.
Considering all that fat-free milk I drank in the old days, I’m just averaging things out.
Lisa Andersen says
I always enjoy your thoughtful, clever, fun essays, Jim. This one put a smile on my face as I sip my 2nd cup of coffee with heavy cream. Keep ’em coming!
Lisa — Thanks for the kind words! It’s great to learn what it is readers like about the blog, even if it puts pressure on me to be funny and thoughtful — a tough combination. Hope you keep enjoying the blog — and your coffee with cream. Best wishes, Jim.