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May 17, 2012

Comments

I gave up coffee for a few weeks a while ago, as an experiment. I only drank tea. There was a certain something that went out of my life during that experiment. When I went back to coffee, I felt I had more edge or something. So I agree that coffee is probably good for people, as long as they're not also smoking or putting a ton of sugar in the coffee. BTW, I add whipping cream and a small amount of sugar.

People of all classes drink coffee (except in places where it's hot as balls like Texas in the summer where they'll drink a Coke or a Diet Coke in the morning). Hipsters and rich people just drink fancier coffee.

Go out and observe your world. You'll see everyone from students to blue collar workers to businessmen patronizing Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. In NYC, hipsters and the rich go to places like Joe, Cafe Grumpy, etc.

Posted by: latte island | May 17, 2012 at 12:18 AM

All you need is Sambuca.

I agree with HS. The first thing I thought was the class connection. Even if poor people drink coffee too, the better off will have more and better coffee.

I remember similar stories about alcohol consumption too.

If some of the people who avoid coffee do so because of significant medical conditions, it would follow that coffee drinkers live longer even though the coffee is not the actual reason why.

Maybe people who drink coffee have less ability to taste bitter substances. The way we experience bitter tasting things is controlled by genetics .


http://www.decodeme.com/bitter-taste-perception


People who taste bitter things intensely are likely to avoid coffee, grapefruit juice, Brussels sprouts and lot of other healthy vegitables. So they might not live as long as the coffee drinkers.

I've seen you mention this before, and I still can't agree. It's not just the upper class that drinks coffee. Coffee drinking is very common among the working and middle class (think a cop with coffee and donut, a teacher in the break room or a construction foreman with his thermos). These people just drink cheaper coffee; Dunkin' Donuts or Folger's instead of Peet's or some local hipster place. On a related note, as Starbucks has proliferated it seems like the clientele has shifted from upper-middle class to a wide cross-section of the population.

I agree that the underclass drinks soda more than coffee and probably the lower level working class (e.g. the 19 year old doing the dry wall as opposed to the supervisor)), though some of that might have more to do with age.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think age is a big factor here. While I think your statement that coffee is upper class is a poor description of the reality, I think it might be a good prediction of the near future. Based purely on my own observations, it's accurate regarding those under 35 or so. I've got a feeling that the drywaller drinking his Mountain Dew Code Red is never going to graduate to a doppio espresso, let alone a cup o' joe from the diner.

"On a related note, as Starbucks has proliferated it seems like the clientele has shifted from upper-middle class to a wide cross-section of the population."

That happened years ago. Starbucks is a comfortable, convenient, and inexpensive place to hang out -- Howard Shultz's concept of a "third place" between home and work. At the same time, by introducing the concept of premium coffee, Starbucks spawned a niche for indie places to compete with it at the higher end. And those indie places are where the wealthy tend to get their coffee.

"I've got a feeling that the drywaller drinking his Mountain Dew Code Red is never going to graduate to a doppio espresso, let alone a cup o' joe from the diner."

Coffee is popular among people who have to get up early and work outside in the cold -- cops, construction workers, etc.

I've never understood the point of coffee -- it tastes like shit, and tints tooth enamel over the long run.

It's also the implicit admission that you need a "fix" to conduct your daily life.

As to the study referred to in the OP, people here are smart enough to understand it's a classical case of correlation mistaken for causation; but a lot of individuals of mediocre logical thinking ability, such as women, will think it is true.

The human limbic system -- siege of emotions -- does not understand the nuances of probability, and thus interprets "coffee may improve life expectancy" as "coffee improves life expectancy".

you know they do try to "control" for other confounding factors. The summary I can find for this study doesn't say which specific factors were controlled for, but I don't see why you so confidently dismiss it without having read the study properly.

"you know they do try to "control" for other confounding factors. The summary I can find for this study doesn't say which specific factors were controlled for, but I don't see why you so confidently dismiss it without having read the study properly."

It's impossible to adjust for every factor when studying humans.

Here is a comment I found on OneSTDV (re the paleo diet) that sums it up:

"The most honest position is that we don't know how human digestion works and how it evolved in men. It is clear men evolved to be able to process cereals (the Spartans and Romans diet was 90% cereal based), but we don't know if this processing benefits health or not.

This is a very complex subject, far more complex than what passionate paleo advocates are willing to admit.

The problem with nutrition is that its effects on health are very hard to measure; you'd need to put identical test subjects (twins, preferably) in complete isolation and feed them very controlled diets for 70 years in order to get interesting results. None of this has been done yet.

With apparent traits like height or intelligence, studies are far easier to do."

If you drink a lot of alcohol, as i do, you should drink a lot of coffee if you want to avoid cirrhosis. Coffee has a protective effect that is well proven and dose dependent. If you drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day, your risk of cirrhosis is decreased 80%! I drink only coffee before sundown and only beer at night.

Lots of lower classes drink coffee too, but they tend to add heaps of sugar and fake cream. They also like to drink really sweet mixed coffee flavored drinks such as Frappacinos and Machiatos with extra whip cream along with various sugary syrups.

There is a strong correlation between activity and life expectancy. People who are active tend to live longer and retirement is a risk factor for death independent of age.

I suspect that the coffee drinkers are on average, more active people.

Any serious science on diet drinks? People keep telling me that they "slow metabolism" or some other nebulous claim, but all I know is I lost 15 lbs on them many years ago, and I drink them daily now. And I drink a LOT of them - many cans of diet Coke as well as a Fresca or two.

The studies that show a correlation with heart disease or diabetes, as compared to those who drink only water, seem poorly done, since water-only drinkers may be super healthy anyway (as well as being freaks).

Good point. In general, most social studies that hit the press are badly over-hyped, as often even the researchers mistake correlation for causation.

I would like to know what those "other demographic factors" they controlled for in the study. I guess I should dig it up.

@brero:
It's impossible to control for all possible confounding factors. The researchers only control for factors that they think are relevant.

@Blue willow:
That's very interesting. I suspected as much myself. Notice the racial breakdown in the prevalence of the different types of tasters. I think this goes quite a bit towards explaining obesity rates. Those who eat poorly do so because vegetables and such pretty much taste like sh*t to them.

"I've got a feeling that the drywaller drinking his Mountain Dew Code Red is never going to graduate to a doppio espresso, let alone a cup o' joe from the diner."

Home Depot gives out free coffee at the contrators's entrance while the crews are loading in the morning.

You can read the study online (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1112010). The findings are interesting but hardly conclusive. Patients with known cancer, heart disease or stroke were excluded. The results were controlled only for the effects of smoking. So it's pretty thin stuff. Apparently no adjustments were made for race, ethnicity, class, education, income, diet, etc., so it's hard to exclude lots of confounding variables. Still, I hope it's true.

Or tea drinking

Coffee consumption per capita: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_coffee_consumption_per_capita

The top countries have high life expectancies. The top countries are also rich, and European. This does not mean that people in Burkina Faso will live longer if they drink more coffee.

A fun novel: The Coffee Trader by David Liss

I drink coffee at work. I have never made coffee for myself at home, unless I have guests.

Is "137" correct? Does coffee really reduce the risk of cirrhosis? If so, the Russians should drink more coffee. They rank near the bottom of the coffee consumption per capita list.

"Any serious science on diet drinks? People keep telling me that they "slow metabolism" or some other nebulous claim, but all I know is I lost 15 lbs on them many years ago, and I drink them daily now. And I drink a LOT of them - many cans of diet Coke as well as a Fresca or two.

The studies that show a correlation with heart disease or diabetes, as compared to those who drink only water, seem poorly done, since water-only drinkers may be super healthy anyway (as well as being freaks)."

Posted by: eggwhite | May 17, 2012 at 08:11 AM

Most diet drinks contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose. Look up the studies linking them to cancers.

I've noticed that African-Americans don't like caffeine much. Lots of sprite and fruit drinks, but not coke or coffee. I wonder if they looked at race in the paper.

If anything it shows that coffee isn't particularly harmful.

Upper class drink coffee, tea, carbonated water or wine/champagne on occasion. Once they are in their 50s most of them (I.E. Christina Largarde, Buffet or Bush Junior) usually become total teetotalers, if they weren't so in the first place.

It's amusing that Starbucks is considered drinkable here, since so much additives are used to mask its bitter burnt flavour. Many Italians tend to throw out the whole cup after taking a sip.

@eggwhite

Diet soda is usually sweetened with Aspartame and as this article and many others will attest it is the end result from a biproduct of Monsat's genetically modified bacteria's fecal matter.

http://www.naturalnews.com/030918_aspartame_GM_bacteria.html

Many studies have linked its consumption to accumulation of formaldehyde, which causes DNA and tissue damage that leads to brain tumor, migraines and seizures.

Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell L. Blaylock M.D.

Good luck!

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