Was fascinated to read in World Tea News the headline: “caffeine key to a longer life.” Over my nearly 40 years in nutritional sciences, I’ve seen numerous attempts to paint caffeine as bad for your health, only to have the science prove the opposite. So was eager to read the journal article on which the headline was based.
I quickly found out that the journal article in question does not say that caffeine is what makes any difference in life span…it’s coffee itself, both caffeinated and non-caffeinated! **
Here’s the paper’s conclusion:
“Higher consumption of total coffee, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee was associated with lower risk of total mortality.”
So to extrapolate these results to the caffeine in tea is a big leap.
I looked for data about tea consumption and all-cause mortality from the same group and same studies and so far haven’t found anything published. Instead what the Harvard researchers have said is that drinking tea may be good for your health, but if so, they really don’t know why. Their conclusion about tea:
“So if you drink tea, keep it up, but don't take up the habit thinking it will have a dramatic impact [on longevity].” ***
… I would say instead: enjoy your tea for itself!
In my next post, I’ll discuss the second article on which the World Tea News report is based—it’s about worms and chlorogenic acid (it's not caffeine, either, but an ester of caffeic and quinic acids).
* Sam Molineaux. Good News for Tea Drinkers: Caffeine Key to Longer Life.
July 26, 2016.
** Ming Ding, et al. Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts. Circulation. 2015;CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017341, published online before print November 16, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017341
==>> NOTE: this is another in the ongoing series of papers about the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study run by Harvard University's School of Public Health.