People who have high levels of caffeine in their blood are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with lower levels, a new study claims.

Having a high level of caffeine in your blood is linked to having a higher BMI – a risk factor of type 2 diabetes.

A study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the University of Bristol and Imperial College London has found that drinking calorie-free caffeinated drinks can reduce levels of body fat.

The authors said: “Genetically predicted higher plasma caffeine concentrations were associated with lower BMI and whole body fat mass.

“Furthermore, genetically predicted higher plasma caffeine concentrations were associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”

They added: “Approximately half of the effect of caffeine on type 2 diabetes liability was estimated to be mediated through BMI reduction.”

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During the study, the team of researchers analysed the health data of 10,000 participants from existing genetic databases.

They looked at the participants’ genes that determine how fast caffeine is broken down in their blood.

People with variations affecting the CYP1A2 and AHR genes take longer to break down caffeine, meaning it stays in their blood for longer, even though they tend to drink less caffeinated beverages, the study has reported.

The research team used mendelian randomisation to examine the connection between lifestyle factors, the presence of the variations, body mass and health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

The authors noted: “Small, short-term trials have shown that caffeine intake results in weight and fat mass reduction, but the long-term effects of caffeine intake are unknown.”

According to the researchers, caffeine increases heat production and fat oxidation in the body – important factors of overall metabolism.

The authors concluded: “Considering the extensive intake of caffeine worldwide, even its small metabolic effects could have important health implications.”

The study has been published in the journal BMJ Medicine.

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