Can I get you another cup of coffee?

Yet another study suggesting that coffee might just be the healthiest beverage on the planet. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

I write a lot about health studies, both here on Understandably and on—a few other places, too, come to think of it. They often fall into one of a few categories:

  • First, there are interesting studies that wind up being based on very small sample sizes. Sometimes they’re entertaining or compelling, but I tend to put a mental asterisk next to them.

  • Second, there are the larger studies, based on many more cases or people. They seem like they should be more reliable (or at least statistically significant), and perhaps they are. But in this category, we run smack into our old friend, correlation versus causation.

  • But then there’s the third category. These are the studies that make my day, by combining both big numbers and a causational conclusion.

It’s even better if said study confirms my inclination to continue doing something I want to do anyway. (Better from a “what makes Bill Murphy Jr.’s day better” standpoint, not necessarily from a scientific standpoint.)

With that preamble, let’s get to today’s installment of ...

“Bill Murphy Jr. justifies the significant coffee addiction he’s honed since late in his junior year of high school…”

It comes to us from BMC Public Health, which is a British journal about (you guessed it) public health. The study links coffee consumption to a 20% lower chance of developing chronic liver disease, and a 49% lower chance of dying from it.

The total number of health records involved here: 494,585 participants in the UK Biobank, which is a project designed to “help unpick the genetic and environmental factors associated with particular conditions.”

“All participants were aged 40 to 69 when they signed up to the project, with 384,818 saying they were coffee drinkers at the outset compared with 109,767 who did not consume the beverage.

The team looked at the liver health of the participants over a median period of almost 11 years, finding 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease, with 301 deaths, and 1,839 cases of simple fatty liver disease.


[T]he effect increased with the amount of coffee consumed, up to about three to four cups a day, ‘beyond which further increases in consumption provided no additional benefit.’”

Now, can we go as far as causation? I’m afraid not. As science correspondent Nikola Davis wrote: “The study has limitations, including that it cannot prove that coffee itself reduces the risk of chronic liver disease...”

But I’ll tell you what: I’m going to file it away with all my other justifications.

I don’t know about you, but I’m having an extra cup this morning.

We have so many new subscribers since the last time we talked about coffee and health here… so call for comments: Are you a coffee person? How much? And is it for health reasons, taste, or habit?

Leave a comment

7 other things worth your time

  • Large contingents of Cuban police patrolled the capital of Havana following rare protests around the island nation against food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus crisis. Cuba’s president said the demonstrations were stirred up on social media by Cuban Americans in the United States. (AP)

  • The city of Burnsville, Minnesota, has a unique request for its residents: stop releasing your pet fish into local lakes and ponds. "You see goldfish in the store, and they're these small little fish. When you pull a goldfish about the size of a football out of the lake, it makes you wonder how this can even be the same type of animal." (People)

  • Check your attic: A mint-condition Super Mario 64 game has sold for a record $1.5 million. (The Guardian)

  • Apple today landed 35 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including 20 nominations for Ted Lasso, which broke records by becoming the most nominated comedy series this year, and the most nominated freshman comedy series in history. (Apple)

  • How Amazon completely destroyed the name Alexa—and kids who happen to be named that are being bullied as a result. (BBC)

  • Senate Democrats say they’ve reached a $3.5 trillion budget agreement “to direct a huge pool of federal resources at climate change, healthcare, and family-service programs sought by President Joe Biden.” It’s expected to get almost no Republican support, but due to their 51-50 majority, Democrats can pass it anyway. (NPR)

  • The entire staff of a Lincoln, Nebraska, Burger King announced they were quitting, and their note to management went viral, saying they were no longer willing to work in an understaffed restaurant with no air conditioning during a heat wave. (NBC News)

Reminder: I’m doing an Understandably Live session tomorrow, Thursday, at 4 pm ET with Liz Steblay, a longtime reader and the founder of the Professional Independent Consultants of America. I’ve been impressed by this group; if you’ve thought of going out on your own like this, I think you’ll get value from it. Sign up here.

Understandably Live: PICA, 7/15, 4 pm ET

Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.