Most recently I was sent a paper on coffee drinking and the risk of developing Type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is a serious health issue in the world today. The incidence of the problem, which often requires life time medication in one form or another, is growing by leaps and bounds around the world. Fortunately, most cases are preventable with lifestyle changes including regular exercise, a healthy diet and now you can add a cup of coffee to the list!
The study included thousands of people, both men and women. The data used was from 3 large U.S. studies that have been ongoing, including the Nurse’s Health Study, the NHSII and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Because of the size and the length of the study , the investigators feel pretty sure about the results, on top of which their conclusions did confirm some previous studies on coffee and diabetes.
What they found was that people who drank more than one cup of coffee per day had a lower risk of developing type II diabetes. There was no difference between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee either, which is even better news for those of us considering cutting back on our intake to avoid the shaky hand syndrome.
Not only did the coffee drinkers reduce their risk of developing diabetes but those that increased their consumption over the 4 years observed in the study lowered their risk even more. The opposite was true for those who reduced their intake over the same time period, their risk increased.
Sorry tea drinkers the same effect was not seen with tea.
This study did not look for the physiological reason for the coffee effect on Type II diabetes, only that there is one. As a result we can only speculate here. Coffee is known to have a high level of anti-oxidants which play a role in reducing inflammation, thought to be a key factor in the development of chronic disease, including Type II diabetes. But since the same effect is not seen in tea, another beverage rich in those helpful anti-oxidants, perhaps there is a hidden ingredient in coffee that is the driver in reducing this risk. The same hidden ingredient may impact a process that regulates hormones involved in blood glucose control. At this point one can only guess.
This coffee mystery underlines the fact that we don’t know all we thought we did about whole foods and the marvelous potential they have for keeping us healthy.
So grab a cup of real coffee and feel doubly good about waking up!
Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!
Changes in coffee intake and subsequent risk of Type 2 diabetes: three large cohorts of US men and women. Shilpa Bhupathiraju, An Pan, JoannE.Mason,Walter C. Willet, Rob M. van Dam, Frank B. Hu. Diabetologia (2014) 57:1346-1354.