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25 July 2008 Whether we’re catching up on the latest office gossip, sitting in a business meeting, chatting with our friends, or taking a quick break whilst out on some retail therapy, moderate coffee drinking during our coffee breaks may be more beneficial for our health than we think.

New market research however reveals that current perceptions about coffee in the UK are completely off the boil:

61% don’t know that each of our 4 – 5 cups can count toward daily fluid intakei
84% don’t know that coffee consumption has been shown to protect against cognitive decline and certain other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s diseaseii
74% of people don’t know that coffee may protect against the development of type 2 diabetesii

“We need to be aware that there are many misconceptions about coffee that are simply not true. There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that moderate coffee consumption (4 – 5 cups per day) may confer a variety of health benefits and should be enjoyed when we take our breaks in the day.”

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP Richford Gate Medical Practice

As well as being enjoyable, and safe in moderation, caffeine can increase your levels of alertness, helping you to stay on top form when you are at your desk, or in that meetingii. What’s more, three out of four people (75%) do not realise that scientific research has demonstrated that drinking moderate amounts of coffee may provide health benefitsi. Going for that well earned coffee break should be part of our daily routine, yet, 63% of us have tried to reduce the number of cups we drink each day because of myths about coffee:

Top Coffee Myths - Did You Know:

· Three out of four coffee drinkers (74%) have tried to reduce the number of cups of coffee consumed each day because they think coffee is addictivei.

There is no scientific evidence to support this claim when coffee is consumed in moderation

· Over 50% of coffee drinkers have tried to reduce their number of daily cups because they think coffee is dehydratingi. Scientific evidence shows that a cup of coffee will contribute to your daily fluid intake

UK Coffee Drinking Habits Reveal

The battle of the sexes - coffee is most popularly consumed by men to concentrate at work and over business meetings, whilst women will most regularly drink coffee whilst out shopping or ‘on the go’i

64% of women drink coffee to socialise with their friends and familyi
We are now a nation of coffee drinkers, almost three quarters (72%) of us now regularly drink coffeei. In some regions, such as the North East, coffee has already become the most frequently consumed beverage, consumed almost twice as frequently as teai

Coffee and Your Health

Coffee is one of the most widely researched commodities and the overwhelming scientific evidence shows that coffee, when drunk in moderation is safe for the general population and may confer health benefits. Independent scientific research shows that:

A cup of coffee contributes to daily fluid intake and is recognised by the Food Standards Agency and British Dietetic Association as a source of fluid in our dietsiii ,iv,v
Many large studies looking at the general population have shown that moderate coffee intake is not associated with any increase in the risk of heart disease - a study published in June 2008 showed that women who drank 3 cups of coffee a day were 25% less likely to die from heart diseasevi,vii,viii
Coffee has demonstrated a protective effect against cognitive decline and certain other neurological disorders; research shows that coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseaseix,x,xi,xii
Coffee has been shown to have a protective effect in the liver; a 71% lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis was found in subjects drinking three or more cups of coffee each dayxiii, whilst an increase in 2 cups of coffee per day has been associated with a 43% reduced risk of liver cancerxiv
Coffee may help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee each day have been found to have a 67% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetesxv,xvi

“Almost 70% of us in the UK drink coffee to provide a break in our day, coffee has become a major part of the nation’s daily routine and we need to understand that coffee, in moderation, is perfectly safe for most people. Relax and enjoy your coffee!”

Dr Sarah Schenker, dietitian and member of the British Dietetic Association

Notes to the editor

ICM interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults aged 18+, by telephone between 23rd and 25th May 2008 as part of an omnibus survey. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council.

Media Contacts

If you would like to find out more about coffee and health, or would like to speak with an independent healthcare professional, please contact Sebastian Stokes or Annabel Pino at Red Door Communications on / or alternatively on 0208 392 8040.


I ICM data on file

ii Nawrot, P. et al. Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Additives and Contaminants 2003; 20: 1-30

iii Armstrong, LE. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, 2007; 35; 135-140

iv Food Standards Agency -

v British Dietetic Association –

vi Lopez-Garcia, E. et al. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2008 ; 904-914

vii Lopez-Garcia, E. et al. Circulation, 2006; 113; 2045-53

viii Frost Andersen, L. et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006; 83; 1039 – 1046,

ix Van Gelder, BM. et al. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006; 61; 226-232

x Barraco Quintana, J L et al. Neurological Research, 2007; 29; 91-95

xi Ritchie, K. et al. Neurology, 2007; 69; 536-545

xii Hu, G. et al. Movement Disorders, 2007; 15; 2242-48

xiii Gallus, S. et al. Annals of Epidemiology, 2002; 12; 202-205

xiv Larsson, S & Wolk, A. Gastroenterology, 2007; 132

xv Van Dam, RM. et al. Diabetes Care, 2006; 29; 398-403

xvi Paynter, NP. et al. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2006; 164; 1075-1084

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