UK Consumer Group Is Unimpressed by Mushroom Coffee

Mixed signals on its effectiveness

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Do you take your coffee with mushrooms?
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Twenty years ago, declaring one’s fondness for mushroom-infused coffee might have gotten you some stares. Now, it’s a far more normal occurrence, with the combination of the two rapidly growing in popularity. It’s in keeping with a growing awareness that mushrooms can bolster your health in many ways. Now, as the mushroom-coffee tandem begins making its way overseas, at least one nonprofit has opted for skepticism rather than unbridled enthusiasm.

That would be the U.K.-based consumer advocacy group Which?, who describe themselves as an agency with a goal “to protect and promote the safety of consumers.” Which? has looked into the matter of mushroom coffee — and they’re not entirely convinced of its merits.

As The Guardian‘s Zoe Wood reports, Which? took a skeptical look at mushroom-infused coffee, writing that “[t]here isn’t enough evidence yet to suggest they work and the vast majority don’t have authorised health claims in the UK.” Wood adds that the consumer group’s analysis of mushroom coffee labels concluded that many of the health benefits ascribed to the mushroom half of the equation actually stem from other supplements in the mix.

Which? isn’t alone in taking this stance. Last year, Jillian Wilson explored the phenomenon at Huffpost and spoke with some experts about the coffee/mushroom combination. Dietian Katherine Donelan told Wilson that combining the two might not be as effective as just eating mushrooms and drinking coffee separately — and also called for more research on the subject.

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A similar take on mushroom coffee was imparted by the AARP in its overview of the beverage. Much of that nonprofit’s rundown of mushroom coffee’s benefits points to the health benefits of mushrooms themselves. One dietitian the AARP spoke with offered a measured response: there’s nothing wrong with mushroom coffee per se, but eating mushrooms is a better way of getting their health benefits directly.

Nearly all of the experts cited in these articles have reiterated that more research on the effectiveness of mushroom coffee is needed. It’s possible that research could turn up something previously unseen — but for now, mushroom coffee doesn’t seem greater than the sum of its parts.


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