Coffee and Fat Make Blood Sugar Levels Spike

Posted Thu, 04/07/2011 - 11:12am by Camilla Cheung

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The next time you order that burger and fries, you may want to skip the coffee. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggest that not only does eating a fatty meal make your blood sugar levels spike, but drinking coffee along with your fatty meal doubles the sugar level increase.

University of Guelph researchers gave a fatty lipid-rich beverage to healthy men, and six hours later gave them a sugary beverage. The men's blood sugar levels, when measured after they ingested the fatty beverage and the sugary beverage, were 32% higher than when they ingested the sugary drink alone, and not the fat-rich beverage. The fat the men had consumed appeared to interfere with the body's ability to produce insulin and clear the excess sugar from the bloodstream.

The results were even greater when the men consumed caffeinated coffee after drinking the fatty beverage. In this second study, the men were given the fatty beverage, then five hours later consumed the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee, and when their blood sugar was tested an hour later (six hours from the consumption of the fatty drink), blood sugar levels were 65% higher than when the subjects drank only the sugar drink and not the fat and coffee.

Other studies have shown that people suffering from Type 2 diabetes should cut their caffeine intake, switching instead to decaffeinated coffee or tea, as the excess caffeine can lead to spikes in blood glucose. However, this is the first time the effect of a high-fat meal and the consumption of caffeine have been studied simultaneously. The results suggest that the effect of a fatty meal can have repercussions on your health even hours after it is consumed, especially if you consume caffeine with your meal or later that day.

(On the flip side, some studies have shown that drinking coffee can have a small protective effect against diabetes, but these studies suggest that the protective effect may be due to antioxidants in the coffee rather than to caffeine content. Decaffeinated coffee had as much of a preventative effect against diabetes as caffeinated.)

Experts at the Mayo Clinic also say that caffeine can impair insulin action in people with Type 2 diabetes, leading to rises in blood glucose levels.

For people with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes, or for people interested in eating healthily in general, it is a good idea to cut high-fat foods from your diet, especially the unhealthy saturated fats found in processed food and fast food meals. And if you do indulge in a fast-food meal once in a while, you may wish to skip the caffeinated soda or coffee that comes with your meal. Fat, sugar, and caffeine? Not an optimal combination.

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