Montreal doctor debunks myths about coffee and other foods

"A lot of the research is being based on inaccurate data," says Dr. Christopher Labos of food science. His book "Does Coffee Cause Cancer?" shares the truth about nine staple foods. Anastasia Dextrene reports.

Montreal Dr. Christopher Labos’ new book titled “Does Coffee Cause Cancer?” is debunking myths around coffee and eight other common foods.

To break down the science, he looked to the daily staple – coffee – at Beaconsfield’s Café Coco & Bean.

“I thought, what is something that everybody cares about and everybody cares about food,” Dr. Labos said.

The resident CityNews medical expert also listed red wine and chocolate as foods that are commonly at the root of misconceptions.

“Being able to dispel these things, while also teaching people a little bit about statistics and epidemiology is interesting. And framing the book like a romantic comedy just makes it even more digestible,” he said.

Regular coffee drinkers will be glad to know that coffee does in fact not cause cancer. According to research, consumption can actually decrease risk of the disease.

Café Coco & Bean in Beaconsfield on Feb. 27, 2023. (CREDIT: Anastasia Dextrene, CityNews Image)

“If you heard that at some point a judge in California said that coffee needed to carry a warning label that was carcinogenic, I mean, that is a true story in that that thing actually happened. But coffee doesn’t cause cancer.” the doctor and author told CityNews.

Dr. Labos urges consumers to be wary of headlines that don’t convey the whole story, and not to be phased by uncommon incidents.

“Caffeine is a stimulant and there have been cases of people overdosing on caffeine. But that has usually happened in contexts where teenagers were getting these concentrated caffeine powders that they were ordering online, or they drank a large amount of energy drinks,” he said.

“We know what you have to do to be healthy – most importantly, not smoke. Second of all, be physically active. And in terms of your diet […] eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and don’t eat a lot of processed foods. That makes up the vast majority of what you need in terms of a healthy lifestyle.”

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