Tech Digest

Coffee, California, and Weaponized Food Phobias

Stay Up to Date!

Simply enter your email below and click SIGN UP!

From Bioscience Expert Patrick Cox - The Most Life-Changing Book You'll Read This Year - Click Here

April 2, 2018

Dear Reader,

For more than a decade, the scientific evidence supporting coffee’s health benefits has been mounting. Coffee consumption has been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and others. Epidemiologically, it’s more than obvious that coffee is geroprotective, an anti-aging therapeutic.

As much as any scientific matter can ever be closed, the case for and against coffee is closed—except in California.

I’ve talked to established scientists who believe that coffee is so efficacious, government should actively encourage and even subsidize its consumption. Don’t take their or my word for it, though. Instead, take a few hours and search the scientific journals using Google Scholar. I used the keywords coffee, morbidity, and mortality, but you can also look at coffee and specific health conditions.


What you will find is thousands of papers bolstering the case that coffee significantly reduces the incidence of all age-related diseases.

In humanitarian terms, that translates into millions of additional years of healthy life, often referred to by researchers as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) It also means lower personal, family, and government healthcare costs.

On the other hand, last week a judge in California ruled that under the state’s Proposition 65, coffee must have a cancer warning label because it contains acrylamide. You choose.

If you're fed up with ads, you should click this one.

Jared Dillian has an important message for you.


Is Acrylamide a Dangerous Carcinogen?

Acrylamide is on the Prop 65 list of compounds that might be carcinogenic. Sure, in high enough doses, acrylamide might be carcinogenic. It is in mice. I shouldn’t have to point out, however, that humans are not mice. There are many compounds that are bad for rodents but not people, and vice versa. If that weren’t the case, drugs could be approved based on pre-clinical animal trials.

Moreover, many important compounds are beneficial at low doses but detrimental at high doses.

Vitamin D at proper doses is a powerful geroprotector, reducing the incidence of nearly all age-related diseases—but overdosing at 40,000 units a day for months might cause kidney problems. In fact, just about everything we take or eat falls into the category of substances with dose-dependent responses, including water.

So, despite the fact that reasonable levels of acrylamide haven’t been shown to be carcinogenic in people, it looks like coffee in the so-called Golden State will bear the stigma of a cancer warning label.

Given the level of craziness and junk food science in popular culture, it’s pretty safe to assume that these warnings will lower the consumption of coffee among the scientifically illiterate.

Stigmatizing Coffee Could Make People Sicker


Ironically, we should expect an increase in cancer rates if these warning labels are mandated and heeded.

Take a very recent paper published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, which showed that up to five cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of cancer in Swedish women.

And this study isn’t an outlier. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer specifically cleared coffee of carcinogenic risks in 2016.

A meta-analysis by Chinese scientists published in Public Health Nutrition agreed that coffee reduces mortality from all causes, including cancers, but has slightly more benefits for women.

Incidentally, meta-analysis is not a single study, which you should always be skeptical about. Rather, it is a scientific summary of the best existing evidence from numerous researchers.

The risk of diseases other than cancers—like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s—also drops with coffee consumption.

Since discouraging coffee consumption will hurt women most, I might have to rethink that whole Harvey Weinstein California patriarchy story. Maybe somebody should start a hashtag about the judicial conspiracy to give women in California diseases.

I also recommend this Japanese study published in the journal Aging titled “Anti-aging effects of coffee.” The paper sites numerous studies showing coffee reduces mortality from all causes in Japanese as well as other, genetically diverse population groups.

The paper is particularly interesting to me because it examines coffee’s impact on the mTOR gene pathways, the most studied mechanism for reducing rates of age-related disease and increasing healthspans. This information alone convinces me to make sure I get my daily dose.

Prop 65: Another Dark Road Paved with Good Intentions

California wants cancer warning labels on coffee cups.

I’m inclined to mock the presiding judge as an incompetent captive of the food phobia conspiracies that infect California and someone who never took a basic statistics course. However, that may be unfair.

I haven’t read the ruling in detail, so the judge may have followed the letter of the law precisely as it was set forth in Proposition 65, which California overwhelmingly passed in 1986. I happened to live in California at the time, and passage of this measure was one reason I left.

Though Prop 65 was well intentioned, it included language that allows legal firms specializing in such lawsuits to extract settlements from companies that sell products with trace elements of potentially carcinogenic compounds. Critics claim most of the settlements collected under the law go to pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees.

Whatever the judge’s reasoning, labeling coffee as a cancer risk will discourage consumption of the most effective geroprotector available to the average consumer, other than vitamin D3.

It’s also a step backward for biogerontologists who are promoting the concept of geroprotection, or the holistic treatment of aging as a pathology. Instead, it pushes the obsolete disease-focused medical model into every coffee shop in California.

More than any other state, California needs to adopt a 21st-century medical model that prevents age-related diseases rather than treat their symptoms. The state’s finances are in shambles, and the 22% of the population who live below the poverty line depend on an already strained Medi-Cal program. By the way, one-third of US welfare recipients live in California.


Even worse, one-third of all Californians admitted to a hospital are either pre-diabetic or have active type 2 diabetes (T2D). That’s twice the rate of any other state, and the cost of treating diabetes in California is approaching $30 billion a year, if it hasn’t already surpassed that level.

The long-term impact of T2D on California’s healthcare costs will be enormous and eventually ruinous. T2D is a precursor to numerous other serious and expensive diseases and presages an explosion in the most expensive of all diseases, Alzheimer’s. In fact, some researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s disease type 3 diabetes.

California’s budget problems are complicated by the overreliance of the state on tax revenues from the narrow tech sector. If Google and Facebook are hit hard by anti-trust action, due to recent revelations of data misuse, California’s tax base could be seriously degraded. The new cap on state income tax deductions is already leading to an outflow of taxpayers.

If Coffee Were a Drug, Everyone Would Want It

What can be done?

One answer was revealed in a 10-year study looking at the health effects of coffee on more than 3,000 people. The results, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicate that drinking only a cup and a half of coffee per day lowers the incidence of diabetes by more than half, compared to abstainers.

If coffee were an approved drug, it would be a mega-blockbuster.

It’s an entirely natural product that has been used by humans for centuries. The warning labels California mandates for marijuana warn against giving the plant to pets, but they say nothing about the cancer risks associated with smoking the plant.

I admit that I find this entire matter depressing. I’m not exaggerating when I say that, statistically speaking, millions of people will die prematurely if enough of them take these authoritarian labels seriously. How can anybody not be depressed by this sort of scientific obliviousness and government overreach?

So, thoroughly depressed, I poured myself another cup of coffee this morning. Fortunately, there’s evidence that moderate levels of coffee reduce depression as well.

I have two bits of advice. First, drink coffee regardless of California’s warning labels, but not so much that it interferes with your sleep. Sleep disorders are a risk factor for depression and many other diseases.

Don’t ask me how much coffee is optimal, though, because it depends greatly on your genome. The technology that could quickly determine how much java you should be drinking exists now, but it’s not yet on the market.

My other advice is to assume that all government science is junk science until proven otherwise.

If you want to be kept in the loop on the best new medical research and the companies that develop innovative treatments, consider subscribing to my premium TransTech Alert service. It consists of a monthly newsletter, weekly updates, and occasional trade alerts. Learn more here.

Patrick Cox
Patrick Cox
Editor, Transformational Technology Alert

Mauldin Economics


Stay in the Loop on Life-Extending Research
with Patrick Cox's Tech Digest

Tech Digest

Your privacy is very important to us. Please review our Privacy Policy.


« Back to Articles

From Bioscience Expert Patrick Cox - The Most Life-Changing Book You'll Read This Year - Click Here

Discuss This


We welcome your comments. Please comply with our Community Rules.


April 2, 5:40 p.m.

Maybe California should label the air we breath as a carcinogen?


January 13, 2015
The ancient physician/alchemist, Paracelsus, said: ‘The dose makes the poison.’ According to a new study, even oxygen may fall prey to the above adage. While essential to human life, aspects of oxygen metabolism may promote cancer. Capitalizing on the inverse relationship of oxygen concentration with elevation, researchers found lower rates of lung cancer at higher elevations, a trend that did not extend to non-respiratory cancers, suggesting that carcinogen exposure occurs via inhalation.

In the left hand panel, lung cancer incidence is plotted against elevation for western US counties. Darker counties have higher populations and thus lower observational errors. The right hand panel shows the association when accounting for additional factors, such as smoking and education.
Credit: Simeonov and Himmelstein
The ancient physician/alchemist, Paracelsus, said: “The dose makes the poison.” According to a new study published in PeerJ, even oxygen may fall prey to the above adage. While essential to human life, aspects of oxygen metabolism may promote cancer. Capitalizing on the inverse relationship of oxygen concentration with elevation, researchers found lower rates of lung cancer at higher elevations, a trend that did not extend to non-respiratory cancers, suggesting that carcinogen exposure occurs via inhalation.

In the United States, lung cancer is responsible for 27% of all cancer deaths, claiming an estimated 160,000 lives per year [1]. While smoking is linked to as many as 90% of lung cancer cases, this new study suggests that atmospheric oxygen may play a role in lung carcinogenesis.

Oxygen is highly reactive and even when it is carefully and quickly consumed by our cells, it results in reactive oxygen species (ROS) which can lead to cellular damage and mutation. While oxygen composes 21% of the overall atmosphere, lower pressure at higher elevations results in less inhaled oxygen—an effect which notoriously frustrates athletes at high altitudes. For example, across United States counties, elevation differences account for a 34.9% decrease in oxygen from Imperial County, California (-11 m) to San Juan County, Colorado (3473 m).

To investigate whether inhaled oxygen could be a human carcinogen, two researchers compared cancer incidence rates across counties of the elevation-varying Western US. They found that as county elevation increased, lung cancer incidence decreased. The effect was dramatic with incidence decreasing by 7.23 cases per 100,000 individuals for every 1,000 meter (3,281 feet) rise in elevation, equating to approximately 13% of the mean lung cancer incidence of 56.8 cases per 100,000 individuals. A variety of statistical techniques attested that the association was not due to chance.

Full story :

April 2, 5:04 p.m.

Government research and science has actually been excellent historically. The problems are when individuals or groups who don’t understand the science create or apply laws for political or religious purposes that ignores or skews the scientific information. I expect the scientists at the National Institutes of Health would not have made the same decision as the judge.


M Pokrant

April 2, 2:26 p.m.

In California, Prop 65 warning are so ubiquitous, they are like background noise.  Therefore, this idiotic ruling will have just about zero effect.

Melody Mason

April 2, 12:44 p.m.

Sleep disorders are a major problem for the elderly and can lead to many chronic illnesses, as you know. Do you know of any research on why the elderly are prone to sleep disorders and evidence-based treatment?
Do the coffee studies include decaf coffee?

Use of this content, the Mauldin Economics website, and related sites and applications is provided under the Mauldin Economics Terms & Conditions of Use.

Unauthorized Disclosure Prohibited

The information provided in this publication is private, privileged, and confidential information, licensed for your sole individual use as a subscriber. Mauldin Economics reserves all rights to the content of this publication and related materials. Forwarding, copying, disseminating, or distributing this report in whole or in part, including substantial quotation of any portion the publication or any release of specific investment recommendations, is strictly prohibited.
Participation in such activity is grounds for immediate termination of all subscriptions of registered subscribers deemed to be involved at Mauldin Economics’ sole discretion, may violate the copyright laws of the United States, and may subject the violator to legal prosecution. Mauldin Economics reserves the right to monitor the use of this publication without disclosure by any electronic means it deems necessary and may change those means without notice at any time. If you have received this publication and are not the intended subscriber, please contact


The Mauldin Economics website, Yield Shark, Thoughts from the Frontline, Outside the Box, Over My Shoulder, Transformational Technology Alert, Rational Bear, The 10th Man, Connecting The Dots, Stray Reflections, Street Freak, ETF 20/20, Macro Growth & Income Alert, In the Money, and Mauldin Economics VIP are published by Mauldin Economics, LLC. Information contained in such publications is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The information contained in such publications is not intended to constitute individual investment advice and is not designed to meet your personal financial situation. The opinions expressed in such publications are those of the publisher and are subject to change without notice. The information in such publications may become outdated and there is no obligation to update any such information. You are advised to discuss with your financial advisers your investment options and whether any investment is suitable for your specific needs prior to making any investments.
John Mauldin, Mauldin Economics, LLC and other entities in which he has an interest, employees, officers, family, and associates may from time to time have positions in the securities or commodities covered in these publications or web site. Corporate policies are in effect that attempt to avoid potential conflicts of interest and resolve conflicts of interest that do arise in a timely fashion.
Mauldin Economics, LLC reserves the right to cancel any subscription at any time, and if it does so it will promptly refund to the subscriber the amount of the subscription payment previously received relating to the remaining subscription period. Cancellation of a subscription may result from any unauthorized use or reproduction or rebroadcast of any Mauldin Economics publication or website, any infringement or misappropriation of Mauldin Economics, LLC’s proprietary rights, or any other reason determined in the sole discretion of Mauldin Economics, LLC.

Affiliate Notice

Mauldin Economics has affiliate agreements in place that may include fee sharing. If you have a website or newsletter and would like to be considered for inclusion in the Mauldin Economics affiliate program, please go to Likewise, from time to time Mauldin Economics may engage in affiliate programs offered by other companies, though corporate policy firmly dictates that such agreements will have no influence on any product or service recommendations, nor alter the pricing that would otherwise be available in absence of such an agreement. As always, it is important that you do your own due diligence before transacting any business with any firm, for any product or service.

© Copyright 2018 Mauldin Economics