Hold the Decaf
A recent study has unearthed some positive news about drinking coffee and consuming caffeine.
The results, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, show that drinking more coffee may reduce the risk of developing type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. Comparing coffee drinkers with those who avoid java, the study showed that women who consumed more than six 8-oz. cups of caffeinated coffee per day reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 30%. The results were even more pronounced in men, whose risk dropped by about 50%. Those drinking decaf enjoyed some risk reduction but not the same—a 25% drop for men and 15% for women.
Researchers now hope to investigate whether the effects really are linked to coffee or if it is due to something about the coffee drinkers.
The study involved more than 126,000 people over a period of 12 to 18 years. Every two to four years, the participants completed questionnaires describing, among other things, their intake of coffee and tea. No statistically significant link was found between diabetes and tea.
“The evidence is quite strong that regular coffee is protective against diabetes,” said Dr. Frank Hu, one of the researchers with the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston). “The question is whether we should recommend coffee consumption as a strategy. I don't think we're there yet.”
THE IN BOX
n Robertet Flavors Inc. (Piscataway, N.J.) named Dave Youngster director of logistics and Peggy Anderson associate food technologist. The company also was the recipient of a Specialty Award from Ocean Spray (Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass.).
Going MadDNA tests have confirmed the “mad” cow found in Washington in December came from Canada, serving as another blow to the troubled Canadian cattle industry. The industry in Canada has lost more than $1.9 billion since May's discovery of a mad cow in Alberta. Investigations are still underway to determine how the animal became infected and whether any additional animals in Canada should be tested.
For its part, the U.S. has implemented additional safeguards to boost the safety against mad cow disease, a.k.a. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). These include removing certain animals and specified risk material and tissues from the human food chain; requiring additional process controls for establishments using advanced meat recovery (AMR); holding meat from cattle being tested for BSE until the test is confirmed negative; and prohibiting the air-injection stunning of cattle.
The find already has taken a toll on American cattle exports, as Japan, South Korea and several other Asian nations moved quickly to avoid possibly infected meat. However, certain areas of America's beef industry might see the madness as a positive.
Many organic beef producers in the U.S. believe the mad cow scare will boost demand for organic meat, which is from animals fed only milk, grasses and grains from birth to slaughter. Scientists suspect BSE is spread through cattle feed containing protein or bone meal from infected cows or sheep. Such products are banned, but some food industry observers believe the law has loopholes and often is not enforced.