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Coffee Might Not Be as Healthy as Researchers Previously Claimed

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...or is it? The scientific debate continues.

Michelle Tribe/Flickr

Americano junkies and pumpkin spice latte devotees alike were no doubt glad to hear the recent news that consuming up to five cups of coffee a day has numerous health benefits. But now, per the The Washington Post, science says that might not actually be true — for roughly half the population, anyway.

The much-cited study, released in February by the federal government's Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, stated consumption of three to five cups of coffee per day "is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes."

it turns out that genetics play a large role in determining whether or not coffee is good for you

But it turns out that your genetics play a large role in determining whether or not your coffee habit is good for you: "... Scientists have identified at least one specific location in the genome — a single nucleotide out of roughly three billion — that determines whether a person processes caffeine quickly or slowly," explains the Post. "And in those with the gene variant for handling caffeine slowly — roughly 50 percent of people — more coffee has been linked in separate studies to a higher risk of hypertension and heart attacks."

And since most of us probably won't be bankrolling the high cost of personal genetic testing, there's really no way to definitively determine which category we fall into. But there are some other indicators to watch out for: "The only hint may come from symptoms after drinking coffee," Paolo Palatini, a medical professor at Italy's University of Padua tells the Post. "There are people who feel nervous, suffer insomnia and even have tremor after one cup, attesting to a direct effect of caffeine on the brain." In short: If coffee makes you feel super-jittery, you may be wise to steer clear.

Whether or not drinking coffee is actually healthy for the people who drink it may still be in contention, but it's certainly not good for some of the people who help produce it: A recent study revealed that commercial coffee roastery workers are more susceptible to a fatal type of lung disease, due to exposure to harmful chemicals that occur naturally in coffee.

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