Thursday, June 4, 2015

Should You Limit Your Daily Coffee Intake? By Amy Capetta

Drinking up to five espressos a day, or the caffeine equivalent, poses no risk to [the] general population, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has concluded. The agency carried out the scientific study after some countries raised concerns about the health effects of caffeine on the heart and central nervous system. According to their research, adults can consume up to 400mg per day from the typical sources (including tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks) and chugging down a single serving up to 200mg of caffeine can be safe, as well. But the EFSA warns to stop after five cups: Consuming more than that could be damaging to your health, they say. So what is the US’s official recommended guideline on caffeine consumption? For healthy adults FDA has cited 400 milligrams a day. But that said, “We don’t have a standard policy,” Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, Associate Dean from the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, tells Yahoo Health. Nelson and 13 other nationally recognized experts in the fields of nutrition, medicine and public health are part of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.“Our committee put together a technical report, which we were asked to do, and submitted it to the secretaries of the Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),” she states. “However, there are some policies, like from the American Academy of Pediatrics for children and from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for pregnant women. But in terms of adults, the United States doesn’t have any, which is why it was such a fascinating topic area for our subcommittee to address.” The team considered two factors in their proposal: coffee, which is the major source of caffeine in our nation’s diet, and caffeine. “What we saw was that there was strong, consistent evidence in coffee,” says Nelson. “Within the three to five cups a day range, which is up to 400mg, coffee was not associated with any increased, major health risks. In fact, there was moderate but consistent evidence that drinking coffee in moderate amounts actually reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in healthy adults.” She adds that coffee may also reduce risk of some liver cancers and cancers of the endometrium. And yes, caffeine had a perk, as well. “With respect to caffeine, what we saw was that there was, in fact, moderate evidence that caffeine intakes around that amount — and not coffee but caffeine — can reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease,” says Nelson. Caffeine may even protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease, nutritionist Keri Glassman, founder of Nutritious Life, tells Yahoo Health. “German and French researchers have demonstrated that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s,” she states. “They showed how giving regular doses of caffeine to mice bred to develop tau protein deposits in their brains slowed memory decline compared to controlled mice.” Yahoo! Health Photo