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Coffee and Diabetes

Caffeine (found in coffee) has been shown to impair insulin sensitivity
Caffeine (found in coffee) has been shown to impair insulin sensitivity

The effect of coffee on diabetes, when presented in the media can often be confusing.

News stories can in the same week tout the benefits coffee can have on diabetes and shoot down coffee as being unhelpful for blood sugar levels.

This doesn’t mean the articles are contradictory though.

Put slightly more simply, coffee contains different chemicals, some of which have beneficial effects whereas others can have a less beneficial effect, such as caffeine which can impair insulin in the short term.

Caffeine and blood sugar levels

Caffeine has been shown to impair insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, indicating that coffee may see higher blood glucose levels.

However, a regular high caffeine intake has been linked with improved insulin sensitivity. [20]

Benefits of coffee

Coffee has been shown to offer the following health benefits:

  • Lowering risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of developing cancers
  • Reduction of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduction of strokes

Coffee contains polyphenols, which are a molecule that anti-oxidant properties which are widely believed to help prevent inflammatory illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, and anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) properties.

As well as polyphenols, coffee contains the mineral magnesium and chromium.

The blend of these nutrients can be helpful for improving insulin sensitivity.

Coffee and prevention of diabetes

Coffee and its effect on risks of developing type 2 diabetes have been studied a number of times and has indicated a notably lower risk of type 2 diabetes being associated with coffee drinkers.

A 2009 study of 40,000 participants noted that consumption of 3 cups of tea or coffee a day lead to a 40% lower risk of type 2 diabetes developing. [21]

Decaffeinated coffee and blood glucose

So whilst caffeine may hamper insulin sensitivity, other properties in coffee have the opposite effect.

It is therefore believed that decaffeinated coffee may present the best option for people with diabetes as researchers find it includes the benefits of coffee with some of negative effects that are associated with caffeine.

Your Comments
@Philip Robinson: No no. I'm not saying don't drink decaf coffee :D. I'm saying that by fact it raises your LDL cholesterol... So don't think it's a wonder drink... Treat it with the same respect you would with usual coffee... in moderation.@Geoff Oliver: I really don't know the answer to your question. My apologies.
Posted by James Trusler, England on Wednesday, June 13, 2012
But can we mention that Decaf coffee raises LDL cholesterol. So don't drown your sorrows in the stuff.
Posted by James Trusler, England on Thursday, February 02, 2012
This is complete garbage. Since Britons have been drinking large quantities of tea and coffee since the 19th century, if this was true then we would have a low incidence of diabetes, heart problems and cancer. We don't, we have average levels, or in the case of T2, higher levels. It's a case of pseudo scientific nonsense pedalled by journalists.
Posted by Philip Robinson, United Kingdom on Thursday, February 02, 2012
Interesting re coffee - does this apply to just proper coffee or instant as well?
Posted by Geoff Oliver, Rural wales on Thursday, February 02, 2012
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