When it comes to drinking, I have two vices. One is coffee. The other is Pepsi. A new study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" strongly suggests that I should quit drinking one and continue enjoying the other. Bet you can guess which one is which.
Yep, coffee for the win. According to researchers from the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute and Harvard University. drinking sugar-sweetened OR low calorie soda is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Drinking coffee is assocaited with a lower risk of stroke. That's one more plus on the coffee side of the health ledger.
Unlike the quasi-study about green coffee extract helping weight loss, which included 16 people in what appears to be a fairly poorly designed study, the Cleveland Clinic/Harvard University study used the data collected in two major health surveys over the course of the last 30-odd years. The Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study have been collecting health data on a total of 127,456 adults (84,085 and 43,371 respectively) since the 1980s. The collected data has been analyzed for numerous trends, and are the basis on a lot of the other claims about coffee's healthy properties.
The researchers also found that people who draink more than one sugar-sweetened soda a day were also more likely to report high blood pressure and high cholesterol and to have lower activity levels. Those who drank low-calorie soda were more likely to have chronic diseases and a higher BMI. Those who drank more soda in general were also more likely to eat red meat and whole-fat dairy products. The researchers statistically controlled for all of those factors and still found that people who drank at least one serving of coffee a day had a 10% lower risk of stroke than a person who drank at least one sugar-sweetened soda a day.
As I've noted before in comments on articles about coffee and health, I'm an open-minded skeptic. Coffee is a huge money crop with lots of interests that want to convince everyone that coffee is not only not bad for you, but that it is GOOD FOR YOU. With that in mind, I always take study results with a healthy helping of salt (yes, salt in your coffee can actually enhance the flavor, especially if you take it with milk and sugar). On the other hand, a lot of the most recent research from around the world strongly suggests that lignans, cholorogenic acids. magnesium and other antioxidants may protect the body against a number of conditions brought on the the lousy diets we eat.
Of course, since the researchers put a lot of the blame for the damage done by sodas on the sugar load you take on by slugging down a 12-oz Pepsi, chances are that you shouldn't translate the findings of this study to mean that the triple mocha latte with syrup and whipped cream is anything more than an assault on your body.