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Coffee researchers have suggested for some time that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A new coffee study published April 24 2014 in Diabetologia further confirms what we already know about coffee and diabetes.
Researchers at Harvard University’s department of nutrition were curious about what would happen if coffee drinkers changed their coffee consumption habits. Shilpa Bhupathiraju, lead study author, noted that researchers already know that people who drink between one and six cups of coffee daily reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 33 percent over people who don’t drink coffee at all. In this recent study, Harvard researchers measured the risks of developing diabetes when people drank more or less coffee over the course of several years.
They found that people who increased the amount of coffee they drank by one or more cups daily over the course of the four-year study saw their risk of developing diabetes drop even lower, while those who drank less coffee saw their risk of developing diabetes rise. Lead researcher Dr. Frank Hu said that the study appears to establish a dose-response relationship between coffee and reduction of diabetes risk. Essentially, the more coffee you drink, the more you reduce your risk of developing the condition. According to Hu, people who drink three to five 8-ounce cups of black coffee (or coffee with a small amount of milk or sugar) daily significantly reduce their type 2 diabetes risk.
However, Hu went on to say that the research doesn’t prove that coffee causes the reduction in diabetes risk, though he is clear that it’s not the caffeine in coffee that does the trick. The current thinking, he says, is that the antioxidants and other nutrients in coffee are the elements responsible for lowering the risk of diabetes. In addition, he notes that animal experiments and small human trials have established a cause-and-effect link between drinking coffee and a reduction in insulin resistance, an early warning sign for diabetes. Other health professionals have suggested that perhaps that extra cup of coffee causes patients to eat less because they become full faster, or gives them the energy to work out more.
While all the research linking coffee to reductions in disease make java sound like a health panacea, doctors maintain that drinking coffee is not, by itself, an effective strategy to prevent diabetes or any other health conditions. While coffee does appear to make a difference, there are other lifestyle changes, like increasing your physical activity level and eating a healthier diet all around, are far more effective. On the other hand, current research does put to rest traditional ideas that coffee is dangerous and unhealthy.