Associations of coffee genetic risk scores with consumption of coffee, tea and other beverages in the UK Biobank

Amy E. Taylor*, George Davey Smith, Marcus R. Munafò

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
338 Downloads (Pure)


AIMS: To evaluate the utility of coffee-related genetic variants as proxies for coffee consumption in Mendelian randomisation studies, by examining their association with non-alcoholic beverage consumption (including subtypes of coffee and tea) and a range of sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

DESIGN: Observational study of the association of genetic risk scores for coffee consumption with different types of non-alcoholic beverage consumption.

SETTING: UK general population PARTICIPANTS: Individuals of European ancestry aged 40-70 years from the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2010 (N = 114,316).

MEASUREMENTS: Genetic risk scores were constructed using two, four and eight independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in genomewide association studies (GWAS) of coffee consumption. Drinks were self-reported in a baseline questionnaire (all participants) and in detailed 24 dietary recall questionnaires in a subset (N = 48,692).

FINDINGS: Genetic risk scores explained up to 0.38%, 0.19% and 0.76% of the variance in coffee, tea and combined coffee and tea consumption respectively. Genetic risk scores demonstrated positive associations with both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea consumption, and with most subtypes of coffee consumption, but only with standard tea consumption. There was no clear evidence for positive associations with most other non-alcoholic beverages, but higher genetic risk for coffee consumption was associated with lower daily water consumption. The genetic risk scores were associated with increased alcohol consumption, but not consistently with other sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Coffee-related genetic risk scores could be used as instruments for combined coffee and tea consumption in Mendelian randomisation studies. However, associations observed with alcohol consumption require further investigation to determine whether these are due to causal effects of coffee and tea consumption, or biological pleiotropy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Early online date29 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


  • Caffeine
  • coffee
  • drinks
  • genetics
  • Mendelian randomization
  • tea


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