There may be no such thing as drinking too much coffee.
Drinking excessive amounts of coffee does not lead to death, even if you’re drinking eight or more cups a day, according to new research released Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers tested ground and instant coffee, as well as various causes of death such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, and found that drinking coffee does not increase the risk of mortality.
They studied data of more than 500,000 people from the nonprofit U.K. BioBank, an anonymous, long-term public database of medical records, test results and DNA samples, which aims to help scientists in their research to fight the causes of disease. The participants ranged in age from 38 to 73, and had a mean age of 57 years.
Instant coffee had a weaker link to death than ground coffee, possibly because instant coffee has lower levels of certain chemicals than ground coffee. The same was true of decaffeinated coffee, they found. The findings “provide further reassurance that coffee drinking can be a part of a healthy diet,” the researchers wrote.
Of course, not everyone agrees coffee is safe. Last March, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that coffee in California must come with a cancer warning. The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group, claimed a chemical used in the roasting process called acrylamide is carcinogenic and requires a health warning.
The ruling was unwelcome news for Starbucks SBUX, +0.43% and other retailers. A spokeswoman for Starbucks referred comment on the ruling to the National Coffee Association, which previously said the industry is considering appeals and other legal options, adding that cancer warnings on coffee labels would be “misleading.”
Still, plenty of other research suggests coffee isn’t so bad for your health. For example, people who drank four cups of coffee a day in one study had a 64% lower risk of dying than those who never or rarely had coffee, according to a 2017 study from the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Researchers followed almost 20,000 Spanish participants for 10 years.
Other previous studies found similar results: A 16.5-year European study of half a million adults 35 years and older found the more coffee a person drank, the less likely they were to have died by the end of the study.