Many people enjoy drinking extra-hot tea or coffee. These popular beverages are subject-matters of research for numerous scientists.
According to the World Health Organization(WHO), these are no conclusive evidence proving that consuming coffee can cause cancer. However, there is the question is a high temperature in tea or coffee truly a cause for concern?
Listing it alongside substances like chloroform and lead, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) earlier classified coffee as conceivably carcinogenic in its 2B category. Nevertheless, it inverted its former warning based on novel outcomes of over 1,000 animal and human studies.
Safety, though, remains a question if the beverage is consumed at really high temperature, with scientific proof proving that drinking tea, coffee, and other beverages at approximately 65 degrees Celsius or even higher can cause esophageal cancer.
Moreover, in countries like South America, Turkey, Iran, and China where a traditional drink known as maté is consumed at about 70 degrees Celsius, the risks of this cancer ascended with the temperature at which the brew was drunk.
Dr. Christopher Wild, a director of IARC, said that alcohol consumption and smoking are the usual causes of this type of cancer, particularly in high-income nations. Though, the evidence demonstrates there is a positive association between consuming extra hot drinks and the said cancer.
As Dr. Wild explained:
“The majority of esophageal cancers occur in parts of East Africa, South America, and Asia, where regularly drinking hot beverages is very common and where the reasons for the high incidence of esophageal cancer are not as well understood.”
Dr. Thomas Sherman from the Georgetown University Medical Center claims that research from the last 4 to 10 years has narrowed the list of possible dietary factors in esophageal cancer, initially focusing on some specific ingredients as caffeine.
“Some of these studies, though, focused on common factors for all beverages: they could be very hot, and the question was asked whether thermal injuries to the esophagus might be the real risk factor,” said Dr. Sherman, adding that details about thermal injury include both metabolic and genetic processes.
One explanation is that very hot drinks could injure the cells lining the throat, which play a vital role in defending tissues from being exposed to some potential carcinogens in the air and food. Recurrently inflicting thermal injuries on this barrier may let in minor levels of foodborne carcinogens, like alcohol, to impact exposed sensitive tissues.
The risks for esophageal cancer is around 2.4 times greater for people who drink extra-hot tea or coffee compared to those who don’t – luckily a small number, Sherman noted. This is considered a very low risk compared to known carcinogens, including alcohol.
A research last year found that people with colon cancer who drank at least 4 cups of caffeine-rich coffee on a daily basis were 52% less susceptible to a recurrence of disease or death by the cancer type, compared to those abstaining from the brew.
Many epidemiological types of research found that extra-hot tea or coffee intake had NO carcinogenic effect for cancers of the female breast, prostate, and pancreas and reduced risks were seen for malignancies of the uterine endometrium and liver.
Evidence for any other cancers associated with drinking extra-hot tea or coffee was also unconvincing.
The National Coffee Association in the U.S. greeted the new classification.
“Today, we can drink or buy a cup of extra-hot tea or coffee with even more confidence thanks to science.” they said.