The heavenly brew, once deemed harmful to health, is turning out to be, if not quite a health food, at least a low-risk drink, and in many ways a beneficial one. It could protect against diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis and Parkinson's disease. What happened? Lots of new research, and the recognition that older, negative studies often failed to tease apart the effects of coffee and those of smoking because so many coffee drinkers were also smokers. "Coffee was seen as very unhealthy," said Rob van Dam, a coffee researcher and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Now we have a more balanced view. We're not telling people to drink it for health. But it is a good beverage choice."
As you digest the news on coffee, keep in mind that coffee and caffeine are not the same thing. In fact, "they are vastly different," said coffee researcher Terry Graham, chairman of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. One can be good for you; the other, less so.