Drinking coffee does not cause an increase in mortality, according to a recently−published long−term study. In fact, people who drank coffee had a lower mortality rate, particularly from cardiovascular events, than those who did not.

Over the years, there have been many studies of coffee's effect on a variety of diseases and conditions. Results have been inconclusive; some studies show increased risks while others show beneficial effects.

[E]ven heavy coffee drinking doesn't increase mortality, [but] some moderation is probably prudent.

The study investigated the effect of coffee drinking on general mortality rate. It tracked over 40,000 men for sixteen years and over 80,000 women for twenty−four years. No association between coffee drinking and increased mortality (death rate) was found. Instead, the study found that people who reported high amounts of coffee drinking had a somewhat lower risk of death from all causes. This effect was stronger in the women's group. Coffee consumption and health outcomes were checked and followed up at two to four year intervals. The findings were published in the June 2008 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Coffee consumption was determined by Self-reporting of the participants. There is no other way to effectively monitor the coffee consumption of the study subjects over this long a time period.

The study indicates that even heavy coffee drinking doesn't increase mortality. While this is good news for coffee drinkers, keep in mind that caffeine is not a nutrient, it's a drug — a stimulant. Some moderation is probably prudent.

This study comes on the heels of another study published by the same researchers in 2006. The earlier study found no significant association between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease.