Original Research31 May 2022
A Large Prospective Cohort Study
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    Visual Abstract. Sweetened and Unsweetened Coffee Consumption and Mortality.

    Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. This observational study examines the relationship between coffee, including sugar-sweetened coffee, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality.



    Previous observational studies have suggested an association between coffee intake and reduced risk for death, but these studies did not distinguish between coffee consumed with sugar or artificial sweeteners and coffee consumed without.


    To evaluate the associations of consumption of sugar-sweetened, artificially sweetened, and unsweetened coffee with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.


    Prospective cohort study.


    Data were extracted from the UK Biobank.


    A total of 171 616 participants (mean age, 55.6 years [SD, 7.9]) without cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer at baseline were eligible. Baseline demographic, lifestyle, and dietary data from the UK Biobank were used, with follow-up beginning in 2009 and ending in 2018.


    Dietary consumption of sugar-sweetened, artificially sweetened, and unsweetened coffee was self-reported. All-cause, cancer-related, and CVD-related mortality were estimated.


    During a median follow-up of 7.0 years, 3177 deaths were recorded (including 1725 cancer deaths and 628 CVD deaths). Cox models with penalized splines showed U-shaped associations of unsweetened coffee, sugar-sweetened coffee, and artificially sweetened coffee with mortality. Compared with nonconsumers, consumers of various amounts of unsweetened coffee (>0 to 1.5, >1.5 to 2.5, >2.5 to 3.5, >3.5 to 4.5, and >4.5 drinks/d) had lower risks for all-cause mortality after adjustment for lifestyle, sociodemographic, and clinical factors, with respective hazard ratios of 0.79 (95% CI, 0.70 to 0.90), 0.84 (CI, 0.74 to 0.95), 0.71 (CI, 0.62 to 0.82), 0.71 (CI, 0.60 to 0.84), and 0.77 (CI, 0.65 to 0.91); the respective estimates for consumption of sugar-sweetened coffee were 0.91 (CI, 0.78 to 1.07), 0.69 (CI, 0.57 to 0.84), 0.72 (CI, 0.57 to 0.91), 0.79 (CI, 0.60 to 1.06), and 1.05 (CI, 0.82 to 1.36). The association between artificially sweetened coffee and mortality was less consistent. The association of coffee drinking with mortality from cancer and CVD was largely consistent with that with all-cause mortality. U-shaped associations were also observed for instant, ground, and decaffeinated coffee.


    Exposure assessed at baseline might not capture changes in intake over time.


    Moderate consumption of unsweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee was associated with lower risk for death.

    Primary Funding Source:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, Young Elite Scientist Sponsorship Program by CAST, and Project Supported by Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation.