Coffee And Tea Associated With Reduced Risk For Diabetes

Posted Thu, 12/17/2009 - 3:46pm by Denise Reynolds

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Drinking more coffee or tea may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia reviewed 18 studies that involved over 450,000 participants between 1966 and 2009. They reviewed the data on coffee and tea consumption, both caffeinated and decaffeinated versions. They found that each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 7% reduction in diabetes risk. Those who drank three to four cups per day of regular had about a 25% lower risk than those who drank up to 2 cups each day. Decaf coffee was associated with a 30% reduction in risk, and tea lowered the risk by about 25%.

The authors had several theories on the association. Coffee and tea contain compounds that are beneficial to health, including magnesium and antioxidants.Magnesium, for example, is important in carbohydrate metabolism and affects the release of insulin. Low blood magnesium has been shown to worsen insulin resistance, a condition previously called “pre-diabetes,” in which insulin is produced to remove glucose from the blood, but cannot effectively transport the sugar into the cells where it is needed for energy. Lignans are a type of antioxidant that is also associated with improving insulin sensitivity. Chlorogenic acid, a component of caffeic acid in coffee, is another antioxidant linked to blood sugar reduction.

Not a coffee drinker? Tea — hot or iced, black or green — also has beneficial components. Catechins have been shown to decrease glucose production in the GI system, which would lead to lower levels of blood glucose. Green tea in particular may prevent damage to the pancreatic beta cells, which produces insulin.

Recently, coffee has been linked with other health benefits as well, including prevention of liver disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, stroke, and certain cancers. There is even some evidence that the caffeine in coffee can help with mood and exercise performance.

Experts agree that this study adds to the body of evidence that diet and a healthy lifestyle is very important with the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes. However, just adding extra coffee in the morning is not likely to completely prevent the risk of developing high blood sugar alone. Carbohydrate content of the diet, adequate physical activity, weight reduction (if necessary), and self-monitoring of blood sugar levels are very important with preventing or controlling diabetes.

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