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Younger Than 55? Curb Your Coffee to Three Cups Per Day

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If your coffee habit exceeds three regular cups per day, it might be time to scale back your consumption, especially if you are younger than 55.

New research in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings [published online August 9] studied more than 40,000 individuals and found a statistically significant 21% increased mortality risk in those drinking more than 28 cups of coffee a week, with the risk being greater than 50% in men and women younger than 55. No adverse effects were found in heavy coffee drinkers aged over 55.

Study Details

  • A multicenter research team investigated the effect of coffee consumption on death from all causes and death from cardiovascular disease in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study cohort, with an average follow-up period of 16 years and a relatively large sample size of over 40,000 men and women.
  • Between 1979 and 1998, nearly 45,000 individuals aged 20-87 participated. Investigators examined a total of 43,727 participants (33,900 men and 9,827 women) in the final analysis.
  • During the 17-year median follow-up period, there were 2,512 deaths (men: 87.5%; women: 12.5%), 32% of them caused by cardiovascular disease. Those who consumed higher amounts of coffee (both men and women) were more likely to smoke and had lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • All participants were followed from baseline examination to date of death or until December 31, 2003. Younger men had a trend toward higher mortality even if they drank less coffee, but their increased risk of dying became significant at about 28 cups per week, where there was a 56% increase in mortality from all causes. Younger women who consumed more than 28 cups of coffee per week also had a greater than twofold risk of all-cause mortality compared with those who did not drink coffee.

The authors concluded that “on the basis of these findings, it seems appropriate to suggest that younger people avoid heavy coffee consumption (i.e., averaging >4 cups per day). However, this finding should be assessed in future studies of other populations.”

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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