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Drinking plain or sugar-sweetened coffee may lower your risk of death, a new study found. But don’t swear off artificial sweeteners just yet

June 6, 2022, 9:00 AM UTC

“Moderate consumption” of unsweetened or sugar-sweetened coffee may lower your risk of death, according to a study released last week that followed tens of thousands of healthy Brits for nearly a decade.

The journal article quickly hit trending status on the PubMed website, creating buzz among caffeine-lovers pleased their addiction might do them some good.

But not all were celebrating. For those who drink coffee with artificial sweeteners, it prompts the question: Should I stop?

No need to on account of this study, Deirdre Tobias, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Fortune.

Those who drink artificially sweetened coffee likely do so because of health conditions that require dietary changes, Tobias says. That means the lack of association between artificially sweetened coffee and a lower risk of death is likely the result of a “sick user effect.”

“Often when individuals get a diagnosis like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, one of the first things they do is modify aspects of their diet, switching away from sugary beverages,” Tobias says.

The study found that a “moderate” amount of coffee was associated with a lower risk of death. Other studies have come to similar conclusions, finding “a sweet spot of a few cups a day, with other outcomes getting worse as you drink more,” Tobias says.

That may be because healthy coffee consumers moderate their intake. But “there are biological reasons to think coffee may be good for a variety of health outcomes,” she adds.

The takeaway, according to Tobias: “If you enjoy coffee, continue drinking coffee,” but consider cutting back on sweeteners of all kinds.

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