A large study of coffee consumption in the US and UK shows evidence that increased coffee consumption is associated with an 11% decrease in risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study used data provided by healthcare professionals of women from the UK that took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and from US men that took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
Participants were monitored via a food frequency questionnaire every 4 years over a 20 year period for the NHS arm and over 16 years for the US arm. The study found that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than one cup of coffee a day decreased their risk of type 2 diabetes over the next 4 years by 11%. By contrast, those that decreased their consumption of coffee by more than a cup of coffee per day showed a 17% increase risk of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers also noted that participants which had a stable consumption of 3 cups of coffee per day had a 37% lower risk of diabetes than the healthcare professionals which maintained a coffee intake of less than 1 cup per day.
Whilst the researchers made adjustments to take into account a number of other possible contributory factors, such as alcohol intake and presence of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, there may have been other factors which could have lead to increased diabetes risk amongst those that decreased their coffee intake.
If, for example, a percentage of participants swapped their coffee intake for energy drinks, this could have an effect on the risk profiles that was not taken into account by the study.
So, whilst the research suggests that coffee may have a protective effect against type 2 diabetes over a relatively short term period of 4 years, more detailed research would be needed before it could be stated that coffee has protective qualities against the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

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