DIABETES
January 21, 2010

More Coffee, Less Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking three to four cups of coffee a day lowers a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes significantly.

Good news for those of us who already enjoy a healthy coffee or tea habit: a new study from the University of Sydney finds that people who drink three to four cups per day have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This effect was even seen in decaf drinkers, which suggests that a compound other than caffeine may be responsible.

The research, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, reviewed 18 past studies which together included over 450,000 participants. After crunching the mountains of data, the researchers found that people who consumed between three and four cups of coffee per day (the caffeinated kind) had a 25% lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes than those who drank two cups a day or fewer. Even more, the risk for developing diabetes fell by 7% for each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day.

After crunching the mountains of data, the researchers found that people who consumed between three and four cups of coffee per day (the caffeinated kind) had a 25% lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes than those who drank two cups a day or fewer.

What about decaf and tea drinkers? These results are promising, too. Decaffeinated coffee drinkers were at a 33% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who drank no coffee at all. For tea drinkers, their risk fell by about one−fifth, again compared to those who drank none.

Lead author Rachel Huxley says that while researchers had once believed that the caffeine in coffee was responsible for the associated health benefits, it now seems more likely that “other components of these beverages, such as magnesium, lignans and chlorogenic acids, may also have a role.” Huxley says that these compounds may play a role in regulating blood sugar and insulin levels, which would help explain their impact on diabetes risk.

Huxley points out that the “study adds to the body of evidence that our diet and lifestyle are important determinants of subsequent diabetes risk. Although it is too early to advocate for increased consumption of tea and coffee as a way of preventing diabetes, if these findings are confirmed by clinical trials, then the identification of the protective components in these beverages would open up new therapeutic pathways for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes.”

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