This study has been supported by Tchibo GmbH, Hamburg, Germany."
Tchibo is a German chain of coffee retailers and cafés known for its range of non-coffee products that change weekly.
Number of locations
700 shops (Germany)
300 (rest of world)
They might want to make some in-store claims about Dark Roast...
When it comes to coffee specifically, if you listen to the studies about coffee, it's some panacea full of anti-oxidants. However, it's a stimulant, it increases cortisol (stress hormone). Stimulants generally makes the body prioritize immediate energy spending over regeneration/healing. There's been a study claiming that caffeine decreases neurogenesis, which should negatively impact both long-term memory and mood.
While true and I get your point, there isn't anything inherently wrong with that. We should expect and welcome research with the awareness of vested interests.
Afterall it's not surprising for a substance to be beneficial in certain ways yet harmful in other ways. Research from opposing groups will help identify all interesting attributes of a substance. Until we learn all there is to learn, you should approach these papers more as additional clues pointing to a certain direction and not anything conclusive about the substance in question.
Many purely academic studies are done with predefined strategic objectives of advancing one's own prestige, only publishing positive results that fit "your narrative", and indeed polluting the literature with results that are at best incremental improvements, at worst regressions made up to look like improvements.
(if not then ignore the question - I'm just curious about the mindset of people who do ethically-questionable work)
That won't help. All research is subject to the bias of the researchers. For example, many researchers have been caught fabricating results so they'll get famous. And just because someone is being funded by the government hardly means the government doesn't have a biased interest in the result. Everyone running the government has an agenda that isn't exactly altruistic.
Just a while back there was an article posted about how studies SHOULD start out with defined objectives. The argument was that academics are so desperate to publish positive results that they'll draw any positive conclusion, even if it wasn't what the study started out trying to accomplish.
No, we should ban vested interests from funding research studies and reduce the SnR.
How much caffeine was required for this effect and how long did it last?
We still aren't even sure what general diet is fully optimal long term let alone if one constituent can give actual life expectancy benefits.
Let's face it - who would spend the money to fund a study on a substance that's been around for hundreds (thousands?) of years?
Probably if you're going to spend the money to investigate it, you expect some kind of return. So sadly, all these studies end up being funded by people with an interest in a positive outcome.
The bigger question to me is, does that immediately invalidate their results?
It warrants skepticism of the strongest variety unless the study can be reliably replicated under better circumstances. Don’t be shocked when it doesn’t happen though.
Like alcohol studies paid for by brewers, this is hard to accept at face value given the knowns. Even when money isn’t pulling the strings, nutrition studies are notoriously unreliable by dint of human variability and the nature of the studies themselves.
I wouldn't be surprised if around 90-95% of special interest funded studies that aim for a p value of <5% aren't published.
This is true of the majority of publicly-funded research, too.
How many times did they fund this study with different research groups, quietly round filing the results each time until they found a research group willing to p-hack a flattering result?
“You are young yet, my friend,” replied my host, “but the time will arrive when you will learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world, without trusting to the gossip of others. Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see."
Considering that most such research results are already non-reproducible and p-hacking, the added vested interests land this squarely in the crap category.
People like us nerds thinking it through strict logic ("still this does not necessarily invalidate") might reduce some false negatives, but it mostly just wastes our time and has us taken for suckers from industry/marketing con men. With this kind of "research" taking a shortcut in its evaluation is more productive.
Now, by the same token, I am wondering about the effects of decaf. You know, all the alleged "good stuff", none of the sympathetic-nervous-system-stimulation.
If you just want antioxidants (which are themselves oversold too) just eat some berries or something...
I vaguely doubt that.
I mean, this could be tested. Three groups: cold turkey controls, crappy tasting instant coffee group (or even just give them a caffeine pill or something), and full-aroma real coffee group. Groups 2 and 3 get the same amount of caffeine. Now compare the outcomes.
That would be very interesting.
Edit to address Florin_Andrei's critique: last I checked, the organic solvent processes predominant. Just a gestalt, but I suspect there are some adducts produced and the separation, though evaporative, is still imperfect.
Just something to keep in mind.
but you'd have to be more specific as to what your concerns are.
No, drinking burnt coffee isn't going to defend anyone's DNA. This is patently absurd. Come on y'all, don't vote for this kind of stuff. Shame.
The reality however where we don't trust the results (especially around nutrition), the issues with replication of studies, and wrong usage of p-values is the real problem. Perhaps we need to mandate replication studies... I'm not sure what the solution is - but I don't feel blaming the industry is the right approach either. Science has the problem here.
Hmm. This is why climate change deniers can get a foot in the door....
....the door has been jammed open by skewed commercial interests for decades.
Thanks for pointing it out.
Also the list of authors is a bit interesting. Nothing shocking - but interesting.
If it's just bribery, are all of these scientists just selling out constantly?
I have trouble with the notion that we should be immediately skeptical, without reviewing methodology, of any study with industry funding. Some 70% of research funding comes from private entities.
That said, given the current sorry state of "science" (p value abuse, publish or perish, replicability crisis) it wouldn't surprise me if funding related bias really is a common problem.
Cmon use your head here
Whether its the sugar company or the coffee company, who else would do the study just so some college conspiracy theorists dont make a netflix documentary
Its okay to acknowledge the conflict of interest thats literally what the disclaimer is for, but lets not pretend like a more objective version of this study would have ever happened
Precisely, because a more objective version would have found no effect whatsoever.
That said, I drink dark roast so this study must be true.
> coffee intake was associated with reduced risk of oral, pharynx, liver, colon, prostate, endometrial cancer and melanoma and increased lung cancer risk.
(Heh. Smokers drink nearly twice as much coffee as non-smokers. Smoking increases caffeine metabolism. I think this explains the lung cancer risk)
But when I looked for a source on that one day it seems like that's a myth. There can be differences based on whether you measure by weight vs volume but that's about it. https://www.kickinghorsecoffee.com/en/blog/caffeine-myths-da...
So now I just say I like light roasts because I like to taste the coffee and not the roast.
In short, a cup of light roast and a cup of dark roast have negligible differences in caffeine content.
Of course, if they pre-registered and their theory was that it would reduce DNA damage as measured in this way, that would be a bit different, but from this article it's hard to say.
Now, back to drinking my mocha latte.
It's also rather useless if you don't at least have some idea of the mechanism. Coffee has lots of different parts, so what part of it is useful - is it the caffeine? The tannins? ...? And how does it have this effect? Is it even the coffee or just that the coffee group took 5 minutes of rest to drink their brew and that is really the effect?
Yes, that's a well known method of p-hacking.
But I love coffee and am usually consuming it. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ll need to try taking a break soon.
I've stopped drinking coffee a fews times. Once while working at a coffee company and there was a full espresso bar across the hall from my desk. Not easy.
The trick for me is maintaining the ritual. Tea fulfills that need in me. First to black & green and then to herbal.
Happily, I've learned so much about tea, I love it nearly as much as coffee.
The taste of coffee is pretty tough to resist, I'll admit!
They do make decaffeinated coffee, although I've never tried it myself.
Basically, that would mean that drinking decaf is not really the same as not drinking coffee.
It is pretty much anecdotal evidence.
But for the record, I drank about 500ml of coffee per day. About a full single french press container.
I certainly drank a lot less than most people who swear that they felt fine drinking 5x as much as that per day... with some even claiming that drinking it just before bed helped them sleep.
Drinking it occasionally seems fine. As long as I think of it as a treat, it's not too bad, and may indeed help actually.
I have always eaten healthy food, I go for walks and hikes and bike rides regularly but I wouldn't say that I "work out".
I just developed a massive headache one afternoon, realized it was because I hadn't had my morning cup of joe, felt disgusted with myself as a result, and decided to quit drinking it altogether.
I figure that anything as addictive as that has no place being consumed daily.
I grew out of my nicotine habits and other addictive drug habits years ago for the exact same reasons.
Withdrawal symptoms for me were a really bad migraine for one whole week and that actually made my final decision to never start drinking coffee casually again.
However, as I try to avoid all kinds of absolutism, I enjoyed a small cup of campfire coffee last autumn.
For some reason drinking tea doesn't make me anxious or tense.
However, experimenting with putting theanine in coffee and consuming energy drinks with caffeine+theanine aren't as relaxing, perhaps because of the higher caffeine content, or other relaxing compounds in tea.
I drank about 40oz of coffee a day, and had the same symptoms if I stopped. I started replacing coffee with tea and the symptoms were a lot less severe. I'm now down to about 1c a day of coffee I grind and brew myself, as if it's a hobby enjoying the flavors and characteristics of different beans/grinds/brewing methods, not because I need caffeine to be a functional adult.
Curious when you got your last cup of coffee usually time-wise.
E.g. I stopped drinking coffee after noon, my sleeplessness went down and consequently all other symptoms you described. And maybe I reduced some DNA damage by continuing drinking at the morning :-6
Springer Science+Business Media (the publisher) does not transfer copyright of the paper from the author to the publisher like many other journals. This begs the question, why isn't this article open access? The primary author, Dorothea Schipp, is a statistics consultant in small town Germany  not associated with a University and the blood work was done in Slovakia. No PHDs or MDs among them. .
Digging deeper into their research method  the study looked at DNA breakage over a four month period in blood sampling for a coffee and non-coffee/caffeine group. I have a few questions about this, mainly around how effective the time period and method for determining total DNA stability. How many individual cell gnomes were measured in the before/after? What's the random variance for genome variability among cells in the same body? I suspect the variance is high enough to explain their unbelievably low p.
My guess is that the statistician is having fun with p-hacking  while collecting some funding from industry.
What are the common ingredients in coffee and tea except caffeine?
It seems like black tea also, although I can't make sense of the biological jargon. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf010875c
In this case, what really made the effect? Maybe the coffee group was just more likely to take a break (de-stress) or walk an extra flight of stairs to get the brew!
It's a diuretic, so those treated with coffee likely drank more total liquids during the study, and perhaps flushed more older/damaged cell material.
It's also the case that full red and white blood cells, and epithelial cells, are found in urine, and at higher-than-trace levels in various disease states... but that may just be incidental to kidney/urinary tract functioning.
Still, more peeing from regular use of a diuretic like caffeine, and commensurate higher water intake, is going to mean more flushing of anything unwanted in your blood, like the broken DNA strands detected by this study.
Which raises my question: is there really less DNA damage, or has the detectable evidence of the damage just been swept out more rapidly?
Caffeine is a diuretic. The coffee group likely consumed more total liquids in the course of the treatment. So the mechanism might be simply more flushing of damaged cells – possibly beneficial, but not unique to coffee.
It's odd for the headline to highlight "dark roast" when lighter roasts weren't tested, for comparison.
If you’re a slow caffeine metabolizer:
1. Increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension).
2. Increased risk of heart attack.
3. Higher chance of digestive disorders.
4. More stress and measurable cortisol spikes.
If you're a fast metobolizer:
1. Longer life.
2. Faster metabolism.
3. Better memory and mood.
4. Lower cancer risk.
5. Better blood sugar + insulin balance.
I'm most assuredly a slow metabolizer since caffeine makes me feel terrible.
Figure 2: The coffee-treated group is anomalously higher in the quantified metric BEFORE the treatment. This is entirely an artifact of stratifying the treatment vs. control group prior to wash-out. The only significant difference is between all groups and the PRE-treatment coffee group.
Trader Joe's discontinued my favorite dark roast coffee (Fair Trade Organic Guatemalan) and nothing I've found has come close to the taste and cost.
Does anyone have a suggestion for me that's ~$10-$12 per pound?
half a liter per day of coffee is a lot! I wonder if they controlled for caffeine
some highlights from my reading:
- 372mg caffeine per day
- water-only group specifically avoided caffeine
- coffee/caffeine group had to abstain from all caffeine for 4 weeks before study (baseline to 300+mg a day is a LOT for someone with no tolerance)
- they base their claim of the 'darkness' of the roast mattering on other similar studies, with less pronounced results, that used lighter roasts.
"Among several previous studies of the effects of coffee
consumption on DNA damage, only two were randomised
controlled trials, with DNA breakage rather than oxidative
modification of DNA bases analysed . Bakuradze et al.
 also studied the effects of coffee C21 consumption, after
4 weeks of intervention, and found a decrease of DNA strand
breaks by 27% in comparison to the control group with water
consumption (p<0.001). Misik et al.  studied a much
shorter intervention period (5 days) and a different coffee
type and used isolated lymphocytes. In comparison to C21,
the coffee had an approximately twofold content of caffeoyl
quinic acids and trigonelline and about half of N-methylpyridinium. Therefore, the coffee used by Misik et al. is a light/
medium roast type while we used here a dark roast blend.
We assume that the different degree of roasting accounts
for the different outcome observed. "
Life is too short to worry about maybe, probably is something you should likely worry about - that why I stopped inhaling burning things to feed my nicotine addiction, while cancer isnt all that likely, COPD, heart failure, and others issues sure as hell are.
100 people were a part of this "controlled" study.
Please don't be one of those people that runs around telling people this. This is nothing more than biased surveying by a weak company in attempt to create self-promoting propaganda.
Thank you @1_over_n for doing the research
People should learn the basics of statistics before they start to have opinions.
Also, please don't generalize "people" in your backhanded comment. I recommend that you study up on critical reasoning. Maybe then you would come to understanding that most "statistics" are unintentionally (or intentionally) biased, and are therefore bullshit, and not to be taken at face value.
Your comment "In what world would 100 people be enough" shows your disbelief in basic statistics.
In typical well conducted study N=100 participants is close to the minimum sample size when the population is large.
No statistician says that N = 100 is not enough to represent things accurately without knowing other parameters and the design of the study. With large enough effect size N=1 is more than enough and. N = 1800 is enough even if the population size is infinite in the optimal case.
I asked 3 people if they agreed with me. 2/3 said yes. So I guess I'm right
Even days: research shows coffee is bad for you
I personally believe the net effect is to make your body work harder to get through the day.
I think it's bad unless you were funded by the coffee industry.
Apparently, it's caffeine, or perhaps hot beverages (as it doesn't seem like the control drank their water heated).
The information that would help me is an answer to the question: Why?
Only grind what you are going to brew immediately. Use a conical Burr grinder. Technivorm coffee machine else bonavida.
TL;DR: Likely yes. Spinning statistics is not that hard, even with the best of intentions.
The problem with simple rules is it removes all nuance. For example, when smoked tobacco is extremely addictive and therefore harmful according to you. But then you would ignore all the other practical, medicinal uses that tobacco has when used with wound dressing and pain relief.
Of course that's not a perfect comparison to coffee and caffeine, but just because you've got people hard-addicted to Starbucks lattes and espresso doesn't mean caffeine is flat-out harmful to us all.
What they established was that drinking water damages DNA. When they drank coffee there wasn't as much damage. It's a stretch to say that coffee is providing a protective effect though.
Without denigrating anyone, it's a bad study.
What was the chemical breakdown of the water? Was it tap water? Distilled? Bottled? Spring? etc.
A better designed study would have groups drinking different kinds of water. Was the fact that the water was boiled (in the coffee) providing the protective effect? i.e removing toxins etc, did the kettle they use have a filter that processed the water, whereas the water was drunk straight from a tap etc.
Coffee is great though!
In any case, you can't say they "established that drinking water damages DNA" and then go on to argue that they should establish it with another study about water.
If they're drinking cold tap water, it could be that the act of boiling the water yields the desired effect. If they're drinking bottled water (and if the instructions said "drink 500ml of water", this would be my first inclination) then maybe the DNA damage is being caused by plastic that's leaching into the water as opposed to any preventative effect in coffee.