Most of us here at FoodFacts.com really enjoy our hot morning cup or tea or coffee. It’s enjoyable, satisfying and does a great job of perking us up – moving us from that sleepy morning state to the wide awake, ready-to-take-on-the-day state. Today we discovered that there may be more to love about our “Morning Joe” than we thought.

An international team of researchers led by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the Duke University School of Medicine suggest that increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Worldwide, 70 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes and obesity have NAFLD, the major cause of fatty liver not due to excessive alcohol consumption. It is estimated that 30 percent of adults in the United States have this condition, and its prevalence is rising in Singapore. There are no effective treatments for NAFLD except diet and exercise.

Using cell culture and mouse models, the study authors — led by Paul Yen, M.D., associate professor and research fellow, and Rohit Sinha, Ph.D of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Program in Singapore — observed that caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high-fat diet. These findings suggest that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may be beneficial in preventing and protecting against the progression of NAFLD in humans.

“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” Yen said. “Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed and the notion that they may be therapeutic, especially since they have a reputation for being “bad” for health, is especially enlightening.”

FoodFacts.com finds this research especially fascinating, specifically because of the commonly held idea that caffeine is a “bad” thing. It is fascinating to see research reveal healthful properties of caffeine that were previously unknown. Coffee and tea can be the best part of the morning for many consumers. It’s something that people look forward to, but may have felt somewhat “quietly guilty” about. We’re happy to see findings like this, so that we can begin to replace that “quiet guilt” with the knowledge that we may actually be helping our bodies remain healthy. We look forward to more research into this important topic.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130816153019.htm