Survey: Two-thirds of European dietitians believe drinking coffee in moderation has clear health benefits

A new report by the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD) and the Institute of Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) reveals that nearly two-thirds (62%) of European dietitians believe that drinking coffee in moderation has clear health benefits, with 86% agreeing that regular moderate intake can improve alertness and 69% agreeing that regular moderate intake is associated with an improvement in overall sports performance.

The survey, which was completed by 585 dietitians from 26 European countries who have direct patient/client contact, provides new insights into current awareness and attitudes toward coffee consumption from a medical standpoint.

In a world where over 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily, emerging research into its potential role in health has suggested a possible “protective effect” in relation to a number of non-communicable diseases with an inflammatory component. Whilst a detailed understanding of the exact association remains unclear, coffee continues to be an important consideration for healthcare professionals when considering aspects of a health lifestyle.

Among the key findings from the survey of European dietitians are:
The majority of dietitians (62%) believe that moderate coffee consumption has clear health benefits, but the general public is unaware of the potential associations between coffee consumption and health.

Coffee remains a popular beverage throughout Europe, with 43% reporting patient’s consuming up to 3 cups a day and 3-5 cups a day, respectively, intake levels that are in line with current European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) recommendations.

62% of dietitians surveyed acknowledged a positive association between coffee and aspects of mental and physical performance, such as improved alertness (86%), improved mood (61%), and overall sports performance improvement (69%), and 51% agreed that coffee may be beneficial prior to exercise. These results are consistent with a previous ISIC consumer survey conducted during the lockout of 2020.

The associations between coffee intake and key non-communicable diseases are not as well known, with only 36% positively associating moderate coffee consumption with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), 30% with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and 42% with a reduced risk of neurodegenerative conditions. Contrary to the weight of scientific evidence indicating potential beneficial effects across all three disease areas, much of which is summarized at, this is the case.

Caution in the level of consumption was observed in some populations, including those living with GI disorders (54%). Current research on GI disorders reveals no correlation between coffee consumption and a variety of gastric complaints. Additional research suggests that the polyphenols found in coffee may induce beneficial changes in the composition of the “good bacteria” that support the immune system.

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