Can coffee reduce type 2 diabetes risk?

Caffeine addicts rejoice: New research reveals that increasing coffee consumption by about one and a half cups per day can reduce type 2 diabetes risk.

The findings come from three large studies that included more than 1.6 million people and spanned about 20 years of research. A team from the Harvard School of Public Health wanted to examine how changes in coffee and tea consumption could influence type 2 diabetes risk, and they were also curious to see whether changes in caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee could affect this risk.

Go ahead - have that mocha

Results of the analysis showed that participants who increased their caffeinated coffee consumption by more than a cup a day over a 4-year period had an 11 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than people who made no changes in consumption. Moreover, participants who decreased their caffeinated coffee consumption by a cup a day or more had a 17 percent higher risk for the blood sugar condition.

Changes in tea consumption, the researchers found, didn't show variations in diabetes risk.

When it came to decaf coffee, consumption was generally associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk, but changes in drinking habits didn't seem to alter risk that much.

Participants who drank the most coffee - three or more cups per day - had the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes.

Implications

The authors noted that decreased caffeinated coffee consumption might represent a truly higher risk for type 2 diabetes, but it could also indicate that the conditions associated with type 2 diabetes (high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, etc.) encouraged participants to reduce their coffee consumption after diagnosis.

Still, the study suggests that something as simple as your morning cup of joe might have big implications for diabetes risk.

"Changes in coffee consumption habits appear to affect diabetes risk in a relatively short amount of time," the team wrote in a press release. "Our findings confirm those of prospective studies that higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower type 2 diabetes risk and provide novel evidence that changes in coffee consumption habits are related to diabetes risk."

The study is published in the journal Diabetologia.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

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