Tea vs coffee. A new study suggests coffee increases risk of non-cardiovascular mortality, while tea reduces these risks. Image: life-cafe.co.za

Tea vs coffee. A new study suggests coffee increases risk of cardiovascular mortality, while tea reduces these risks. Image: life-cafe.co.za

A recent study that assessed coffee and tea consumption habits of a whooping 131 000 people from France found that tea reduces non-cardiovascular mortality (non-CV) by 24%. Far from it, the same can’t be said about drinking coffee: consumers  had a higher CV risk profile than non-drinkers, particularly for smoking. Overall there’s a tendancy to have a higher risk profile for coffee drinkers and a lower risk profile for tea drinkers

The study involved 131 401 people aged 18 to 95 years who had a health check up at the Paris IPC Preventive Medicine Center between January 2001 and December 2008. Correspondents were followed-up over a mean period of 3.5 years, during which there were 95 deaths from CV and 632 deaths from non-CV causes. Coffee and tea consumption was self-assessed via a series of questionnaires. Consumers were grouped into three classes: none, 1 to 4, or more than 4 cups per day.

Non-coffee drinkers were more physically active, with 45% having a good level of physical activity compared to 41% of the heavy coffee drinkers. Professor Danchin said: “This is highly significant in our large population.” On the other end, physical activity increased with the number of cups of tea per day from 43% in the moderate tea drinkers to 46% in the heavy drinkers.

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Heavy coffee drinkers (more than 4 cups a day) were significantly older than non-drinkers, with a mean age of 44 years, compared to 40 years.

Coffee drinkers were also found to be smokers in larger proportions than tea-drinkers. One-third (34%) of the non-drinkers of tea were current smokers compared to 24% of those who drank 1-4 cups per day and 29% of those who drank more than 4 cups.

Tea was associated with lower blood pressure than coffee, with a 4–5 mmHg decrease in SBP and 3 mmHg decrease in DBP in the heavy tea drinkers, compared to non-drinkers, when adjusted for age. The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress  by  by Professor Nicolas Danchin from France.

Here are some of the documented harmful effects of caffeine consumption: