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Aug 17, 2013 10:04 AM EDT

Four Cups of Coffee or More Per Day Linked to Greater Risk of Death by Any Cause

Coffee
(Photo : Reuters) The new study further proves that moderation is the best solution to any health risk or benefit of coffee.

As coffee's health risks and benefits are continually debated between studies and tests, one thing has become clear, too much is harmful, a new study said.

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According to USA Today, a new study, published Thursday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows heavy consumption of coffee can elevate the risk of death by any cause in men and women under 55.

Researchers found 28 cups of coffee per week, or four a day, made one's risk of death 56 percent higher. The study analyzed data from 43,727 men and women between the ages of 20 and 87 from 1971 to 2002.

"From our study, it seems safe to drink one to three cups of coffee a day," said co-author Xuemei Sui, assistant professor of exercise science with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. "Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may endanger health."

The researchers did not find a risk to the health of men or women over the age of 55, because some may have already died. There has also been another study done on coffee consumption that points to moderation being healthy.

A Harvard School of Public Health study from late July found that one to three cups of coffee per day lowered people's risk of suicide, heart failure and various cancers. The researchers believed coffee acted as a mild antidepressant.

The Harvard study aligns with this new one because the authors said four cups of coffee per day can be dangerous.

However, Gregg Fonarow, co-chief of clinical cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said more research is needed to accurately gauge coffee's health risks and benefits.

"Differences in other dietary factors, marital status and other socioeconomic factors that were not adjusted for in this study may account for some or all of these observations," he said.

While more research has yet to be done, Dr. Leslie Cho, section head of preventive cardiology and rehabilitation, and director of the Women's Cardiovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic, told CBS News the best approach is moderation.

"The honest-to-goodness, best theory is everything is probably good in moderation to some extent," said Cho, who was not involved in the study. Twenty-eight cups of coffee for week is "truly an excessive amount of caffeine."

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