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Is it true that drinking coffee can increase the risk of developing cancer?

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks. But reportedly, drinking coffee can increase the risk of cancer. How can the two be related? Read more in the following explanation.

Is it true that drinking coffee can increase the risk of getting cancer?

Coffee Making Process that Needs to be Understood

For coffee lovers, you might find it difficult to go a day without brewing it. The aroma is fragrant and the taste is delicious, of course it’s a shame to pass up.

It’s just that, there are allegations circulating that the habit of drinking coffee increases the risk of cancer. Is that right?

First, you have to understand how coffee is formed. Before being served as a drink, coffee is processed through roasting. This is what produces the distinctive aroma of coffee.

Now, this roasting process reportedly produces a compound known as acrylamide. These chemical compounds are commonly used to produce certain products such as plastics, adhesives, and paper.

Acrylamide is a carcinogen, aka a cancer trigger. According to National Toxicology Programthis material must be watched out for because it can trigger cancer in animals.

Also Read: Is it true that drinking coffee regularly makes your heart healthier?

Apart from the roasting process, acrylamide can also be formed from food that is baked, roasted, or fried.

Some examples of foods that are considered to contain high amounts of acrylamide are french friesbiscuits, potato chips, toast and cereal.

Meanwhile, regarding the impact of acrylamide on humans, a 2014 review of studies revealed that foods containing this compound do not trigger cancer in humans.

This is because the levels of acrylamide in coffee are not as high as the number of compounds given to experimental animals. Acrylamide levels in drinks are much less than the compounds produced from smoking.

The link between drinking coffee and cancer risk

Knowing the fact that coffee can store acrylamide compounds, can drinking coffee actually trigger cancer?

As it turns out, there is an explanation as to why the two are related. Several factors link the two, including:

1. Hot Temperatures

The hot temperature of coffee does not cause cancer directly. However, infusions of maté have been known to be associated with an increase in cancer in the esophagus. Maté is a traditional tea consumed in South America, Asia and Africa.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), hot drinks (in this case maté) are associated with the incidence of esophageal cancer.

Meanwhile, according to the American Cancer Society, drinks are classified as very hot if they have a temperature of 65 degrees Celsius or above.

Also Read: 10 Benefits of Drinking Coffee in the Morning and Its Side Effects

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is the most familiar component of coffee. It is this content that makes a cup of coffee served in the morning help you be more enthusiastic about getting through the day.

Unfortunately, this content is believed to increase the risk of various types of cancer. According to a 2018 study, for example, caffeine or coffee intake is said to be related to the risk of breast cancer in perimenopausal women or women with a healthy body weight.

However, the study also found the opposite. Drinking coffee or caffeine is thought to help reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.

In general, most studies show that there is no link between the caffeine in coffee and an increased risk of cancer. On the contrary, several studies have shown that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of certain cancers.

For example, according to a study in Jjournal of the American Academy of Dermatologycaffeine intake is beneficial for reducing the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.

So, the assumption that drinking coffee can increase the risk of cancer is not true. Consumption of coffee is safe to do, as long as it’s not excessive.

Regarding acrylamide compounds that are considered to trigger cancer, so far research has found no relationship between acrylamide intake in food and an increased risk of cancer, such as breast, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancer.

  1. Anonymous. 2021. Acrylamide. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  2. Anonymous. 2016. IARC Monographs Evaluate Drinking Coffee, Maté, and Very Hot Beverages. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  3. Arthur, Rhonda, et al. 2018. Associations of Coffee, Tea and Caffeine Intake with Risk of Breast, Endometrial and Ovarian Cancer Among Canadian Women. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  4. Chiat, Choon, et al. 2019. Coffee, Tea, Caffeine, and Risk of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer in a Chinese Population: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  5. Seladi-Schulman, Jill. 2019. Does Coffee Cause Cancer? (Accessed March 3, 2023).

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