Coffee has been officially declassified as a cancer-causing substance by a World Health Organization-affiliated body

Francesca Washtell
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Coffee has been declassified as a carcinogen by the IARC (Source: Getty)

Coffee lovers can rejoice today after a World Health Organization and United Nations-affiliated body declared there is not enough proof to link it to cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded coffee can no longer be classified as a potential carcinogen and that there may be evidence that drinking it could actually lower the risk of developing certain other cancers.

In 1991 the IARC had previously classed the caffeinated beverage as "possibly" carcinogenic, because of a suspected link to bladder cancer.

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The downgrade by more than 20 leading scientists, who met in a special session in France, is the first time a foodstuff or beverage has been positively reclassified.

"Coffee is one of the most heavily researched products in the world," chair of the British Coffee Association Kristine Breminer Isgren said. "It is great news for the millions of coffee lovers that the World Health Organization has provided that reassurance. It follows other strong evidence that coffee may have a protective effect against some cancers."

IARC scientists also said there was a reduced risk for coffee drinkers of endometrial (uterine) and liver cancer.

The group also announced in a report published today that consuming any "very hot" drinks could raise the risk of oesophageal cancer, designating them "probably carcinogenic". However, this was linked more to teas consumed in South America, China and Iran which are meant to be drunk at temperatures above 65 or 70 degrees Celsius.

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Previous studies, including one in 2015 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on caffeine consumption concluded that up to five cups of coffee per day did not give rise to health concerns to most people.

Research has also shown coffee may help reduce the risks of heart disease, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

In addition, it can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25 per cent and has been proven not to cause dehydration (contrary to popular belief).

Pour us another one, then.

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