By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 5, 2018
- Are the headlines right? Does hot tea cause throat cancer?
- Here’s why the actual study shows no such thing
- 5 reasons to drink tea (hot or cold) every day
Oh boy! One day the news outlets are claiming that coffee will give you cancer, the next day it’s hot tea.
Recent headlines have been flooded with claims such as “Drinking hot tea could raise your cancer risk”…. “Hot tea drinking linked with esophageal cancer”… “Could drinking hot tea lead to increased risk of throat cancer?”
Well, before you jump to conclusions, it’s a good idea to take a look at what the headlines are not telling you.
The insinuations in these news captions are taken completely out of context. (This is what newshounds do to build hype and create a flurry of controversy.) When you put it in the proper perspective, a slightly more acceptable headline might something like “Hot tea linked to esophageal cancer in smokers and drinkers.”
But when you look at the study behind the story, even that statement would be misleading. That’s because the study proves no such thing.
Hot Tea and Cancer Study Riddled with Ambiguity
You would think that that if a published study claims that hot tea causes cancer, there would be some pretty strict measures in place. Tea temperatures would be taken on a regular basis. Tea consumption, alcohol intake and smoking patterns would be monitored to some extent.
In this case, none of those things happened.
Instead, the participants self-reported tea temperature and other metrics only one single time. That was at the very beginning of the study. Then, the researchers tracked esophageal cancer cases among the subjects for approximately the next nine years.
Who knows what habits changed over those nine years? And I’m just guessing, but wouldn’t tea temperatures – reported at a single point in time – be pretty subjective?
Still, the research team pushed forward. And at the end of the study, they found that “High-temperature tea drinking combined with either alcohol consumption or smoking was associated with a greater risk for esophageal cancer than hot tea drinking alone.”
Read that again.
It’s a direct quote from the study. And it doesn’t say that drinking hot tea gives you cancer. In plain English, it says that people who drink or smoke – and drink hot tea – have a greater risk for esophageal cancer compared to people who drink hot tea alone.
And here’s the real truth… the bottom line so to speak: The study found no increased risk of esophageal cancer in people who drank hot tea but did not smoke or drink alcohol on a regular basis.
This makes perfect sense. After all, it’s no big secret that excess alcohol intake and smoking are both risk factors for esophageal cancer. The hot tea likely had very little influence, one way or another.
(I’d also like to point out that esophageal cancer isn’t some huge epidemic here in the U.S. While it’s a serious concern if you develop it, only an estimated 0.5% of men and women are expected to be diagnosed with it during their lifetime.)
5 Reasons to Drink Tea (Hot or Cold) Daily
My preferred tea of choice is green tea. And despite the recent news stories, there is plenty of evidence that drinking it – hot or cold – could decrease your cancer risk by inhibiting tumor growth and invasion.
Plus, it has so many other health benefits that you would be remiss if you didn’t enjoy several cups a day.
- People who drink six or more cups of green tea daily may be able to slash their risk of diabetes by about a third.
- Older women who enjoy one to three cups of tea daily have greater bone density than women who aren’t tea-drinkers.
- Habitual tea consumption of more than six years is shown to protect against arterial stiffness, which is vital for maintaining normal blood pressure and a healthy heart.
- People who drink three or more cups of green tea each day could have up to a 21% lower risk of stroke than those who drink less than one cup a day.
- One to five cups of tea daily reduces the risk of a cardiovascular death by around 14%.
So don’t let those headlines scare you away from this healthy, nourishing and life-extending beverage.
In the meantime, if you missed the February 28, 2018 issue of Advanced Natural Wellness, you may want to check it out now. It addresses the recent headlines claiming that coffee will give you cancer, and provides all the answers you need to make the best coffee choices.
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Cancer Stat Facts: Esophageal Cancer. National Cancer Institute.
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Iso H, et al. The relationship between green tea and total caffeine intake and risk for self-reported type 2 diabetes among Japanese adults. Ann Intern Med. 2006;144:554–62.
Hegarty VM, et al. Tea drinking and bone mineral density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:1003–7.
Lin QF, et al. A Cross-sectional Study of the Relationship Between Habitual Tea Consumption and Arterial Stiffness. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 May-Jun;35(4):354-61.
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