Health & Wellness

Some Coffee Is Fine—Overdoing It Can Be Risky

Too much coffee may increase your risk for osteoarthritis and obesity


Too many cups of coffee can make you feel on edge, or even panic-stricken if you’re particularly sensitive to it, but whether it can cause problems later in life is still contested among those who research its effect on the body.

Now a study conducted at the University of South Australia suggests that the results of excess coffee-drinking may be rooted in your genes.

After analyzing the correlation between consumption patterns and more than a thousand diseases among 300,000 participants, researchers found that an excess of coffee appears to put you at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis, arthropathy (joint disease), and obesity—but only if you’re already genetically predisposed for these conditions.

“Typically, the effects of coffee consumption are investigated using an observational approach, where comparisons are made against non-coffee-drinkers. But this can deliver misleading results,” explained Elina Hyppönen, a professor and genetic epidemiologist at the university.

“For people with a family history of osteoarthritis or arthritis, or for those who are worried about developing these conditions, these results should act as a cautionary message.”

If you drink only one or two cups a day there’s no need not worry: researchers defined excessive consumption as an average of six or more cups a day.

“Reassuringly, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking is mostly safe,” Hyppönen said.

If you think too much coffee is making you feel anxious or on edge, it’s important to listen to your body and cut back if you think that’ll help you, Hyppönen stressed.

“The body generally sends powerful messages with respect to coffee consumption,” she said. “While these results are in many ways reassuring in terms of general coffee consumption, the message we should always remember is consume coffee in moderation; that’s the best bet to enjoy your coffee and good health, too.”

Photo: iStock/serezniy.