These days, it seems that there is a new report almost every day linking something else to cancer. Last year it was bacon, and many meat-eaters let out a giant sigh of disappointment!
Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is back at it with another downer in the food and beverage department: very hot drinks are probably carcinogenic to humans!
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is now reporting that very hot drinks of any kind – coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. – may cause esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer causes 5% of all cancer-related deaths and is the eighth most common cancer worldwide. In the US, 15,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year, although most instances are caused by smoking and alcohol use.
The WHO classifies “very hot” beverages to be those above 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius). And just for your reference, most hot beverages are served between 160 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Eek!
The conclusion was based on studies done in countries where tea and other beverages are usually ingested piping hot. The research found that the risk of esophageal cancer increased as the temperature of the beverage increased. The IARC also cited testing done on animals that found water ingested hotter than 149 degrees Fahrenheit promotes the growth of tumors.
What do these new findings mean to you? If you are a cream-and-sugar coffee or tea drinker, probably nothing. The cream already cools down your beverage. If not, you can still enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea, but you will need to learn to be patient. Before diving into your next cup of Joe, give it time to cool naturally, or just add an ice cube, let it melt, and then enjoy!