3 February 2015 Coffee Can Help Lower Your Risk of Diabetes

Coffee lovers rejoice! A recent study showed that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes. You can read the entire study online for free: Ding, M, Bhupathiraju, SN, Chen, M, van Dam, RM, Hu, FB. Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and a Dose-Response Meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2014;37:569-586.

It’s the Coffee, Not the Caffeine

Caffeine alone can cause a short term increase in blood glucose via how it affects glucose transport in the gut but non-caffeine components in coffee appear to offset that problem. Caffeinated coffee appears to be a safer way to get your energy boost than caffeine added to non-coffee drinks. And by the way, sugar sweetened beverages of any type, with or without caffeine, are strongly associated with weight gain over time as well as increased risk for diabetes.

It’s the Coffee, Not the Preparation Style

Fortunately, it appears from multiple studies from several countries that it is coffee consumption that matters, not the specific style of preparation. So enjoy the type of coffee that most suits your taste: espresso, filtered drip, French Press, etc.

How Much is Enough?

Unlike most human indulgences, the more coffee one drinks, the lower the diabetes risk. It appears that risk is significantly reduced starting at two cups daily. If you drink up to six cups daily, then you could experience a 33% reduction if diabetes risk. But my goodness – that is 48 fl oz of coffee! And remember, you don’t have to drink caffeinated coffee to experience lower diabetes risk – decaffeinated coffee reduces risk too and is likely a safer choice for many people.

It’s the Coffee, Not the Add-ins

If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, then consider what you put into your coffee, especially if you tend to drink multiple cups a day. Coffee or espresso is virtually calories free, but the add-ins are not. How many tablespoons of creamer or half and half are you using? How much sugar or sweetener do you add? Are you using syrup to flavor your coffee? This stuff all adds up. Just one tablespoon of flavored liquid coffee creamer provides about 35 calories. Many people use about 4 tablespoons in a large cup of coffee – that’s 140 calories from mostly sugar (about 6 teaspoons) and palm oil. You can look up fancy coffee or espresso drinks in MyNetDiary to find calories or you can also go directly to a source like Starbuck’s to see the breakdown by serving size and add-ins.

When Decaffeinated Coffee Is a Better Choice

Not everyone tolerates caffeine so consider switching to decaffeinated coffee if you have been told by your doctor to avoid caffeine for any medical reason. Common medical problems that benefit from caffeine avoidance include abnormal heart rhythm, poorly controlled high blood pressure, anxiety disorder, seizure disorder, gastrointestinal ulcers (e.g. stomach), GERD (reflux) , heartburn, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), insomnia, and severe kidney or liver disease.

Is this post a call to start drinking coffee simply to reduce your risk of diabetes? No. But if you do drink coffee, then know that drinking either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Alcohol & Other Beverages/Coffee & Tea Diabetes/Preventing Diabetes

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