A New Study Finds Out if Sweetener Ruins the Potential Health Benefits of Coffee

Many of us can’t enjoy our regular cuppa joe without at least a spoonful of sugar or artificial sweetener. Thankfully, new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that extra sweeteners may not affect the potential health benefits of coffee if taken in moderation.

The Objective

There are several studies that suggest that moderate consumption of coffee has some health benefits like better digestion, lowering the risk of endometrial cancer, etc. But not many studies have focused on the different effects of sweetened and unsweetened versions of the drink. This particular study, led by MD Dan Liu, aimed to find out if there is any particular negative effect of drinking coffee with sugar or artificial sweetener.

The Setup

To conduct the study, Liu and his team used data collected from the UK Biobank, a database gathering genetic and medical information from volunteers. They followed the data of 171,616 participants with an average age of 55, and without any underlying cancerous or cardiovascular diseases. The participants were split into groups of unsweetened coffee drinkers, sugar-sweetened coffee drinkers, artificially sweetened coffee drinkers, and overlappers with mixed drinking habits.

The Result

The volunteers were followed for seven years, over the course of which a total of 3177 participants passed away. 628 among them passed from cardiovascular disease, 1725 from various cancers, and the remaining 824 from several other causes. The researchers found that drinking a moderate amount of coffee regularly, i.e. up to three cups with or without sugar, correlated to a lower risk of death resulting from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any other causes. They also concluded that the amount of sweetener should be limited to about one teaspoon per cup of coffee. But the potential risk or benefit of drinking artificially-sweetened coffee remained undetermined as this group of drinkers was using the fake sugar, due to pre-existing health issues like obesity, diabetes, etc.