Questions raised over coffee allergies

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coffee

That all-important coffee boost sought by about 70 per cent of the
UK population may be becoming a bit of a drag, with coffee related
illnesses having doubled during the last four years, according to
new figures released this week.

Food intolerance tester Yorktest claims that the number of allergic reactions to the proteins found in coffee has risen by 3.3 per cent since 2003, from two per cent previously. The findings could threaten the thriving market for coffee in both the UK and Europe, which has increasingly benefited from links to a number of health benefits, with the possibility of consumers looking elsewhere for their morning kick. However, the figures were met with some scepticism in the coffee industry, which claimed that science has long supported that coffee consumption can offer significant health benefits. Roger Cook from the Coffee Science Information Centre told that he believed there was no reason to suspect that the intolerance of UK consumers to coffee was increasing. According to Yorktest, when coffee proteins are consumed they react to antibodies in the blood. For its testing, the group then measures this reaction to identify possible allergies to a certain food or beverage. The testing was conducted primarily on females, who made up 83 per cent of the 50,000 people studied, looking at consumers reactions to 113 different food types. Yorktest claims that those found to be susceptible were more at risk of developing reactions such as itchy skin, feeling depressed, migraine headaches, IBS, fatigue, and joint pains from drinking the product. A spokesperson for the company added that the increasing number of reactions to coffee were most likely due to growing consumption of the product in the UK, along with changing health and lifestyle choices of consumers. In response, Cook said that, while some people were susceptible to having negative reactions to the beverage, this figure remained a small percentage of the population. Cook added that as long as people stuck to the recommended consumption of four to five cups a day, the product remains perfectly safe to drink. "Coffee remains one of the most researched food and beverage products,"​ he said. "It has been linked to offering protection against type 2 diabetes and Parkinsons disease." ​ Dietician, Dr Sarah Schenker also agrees telling that coffee consumption can, in some cases, be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. "Coffee has received some bad press in the past, though I'm not quite sure why,"​ she said "Much like tea, it is derived from plants and has been linked with some important health benefits, particularly as a source of anti-oxidants."

Related topics: Tea and Coffee, Markets

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