Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Coffee reduces alcohol-related liver disease (really?)

KOPI LUI n.,n. coffee-money (bribe)

BBC Online this week: A US study of 125,580 men and women (this is an impressively large study!) over 20 years found a 22% reduced risk of developing alcoholic cirrhosis for each cup of coffee drank per day. But tea was not associated with a reduced risk, indicating caffeine may not be the link, the study in Archives of Internal Medicine concluded.

I have a problem with the findings of this "coffee" research, which was published in an well-established medical journal. It is sending out a potentially dangerous message. The way to reduce alcohol-related liver damage is to avoid excessive amount of alcohol, not drinking a cup of coffee a day. And clearly, it is not just the caffeine that is implicated in the reduction of risk. So what is the active ingredient? This research has not identified any.
So what can we deduce from this study? To drink coffee or not to drink? If so, which type of coffee: Decaf? Kenyan? Instant? With milk and sugar (remember, obesity is strongly linked to liver cirrhosis!)?
I think we are missing the point here. I think we have to look beyond the science and the statistics. The coffee culture itself may offer some plausible explanation. Could it be that coffee-drinkers tend to be office workers, holding a 9-5 job, therefore responsibly limit their alcohol drinking? Could it be that coffee-drinkers use coffee as stimulant, therefore avoid excesssive alcohol which does the opposite?
I somehow feel that a sociological study will give us a better answer. Rather than some research conducted by medically-trained people!
Doctors these days, cheh! Mostly cons.


Anonymous aj said...

Doc SSL, a con?
Nah! I don't think so.

Btw, generally I think that good advice (including Doc SSL's) is hard to give but even harder to follow. ;)
What do you think, Doc?

June 13, 2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous aj said...

Law of Coffee:

As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold. :(

June 13, 2006 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Hijackqueen said...

Heard that too and even how good chocolate can be. You do the research and update us ya?

June 14, 2006 2:01 PM  

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