Coffee, Women and Diabetes

Coffee, Women and Diabetes

Summary: Several major studies around the world have linked coffee to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. The benefits of drinking coffee in regard to lowering the risk of diabetes seems to be highest for women, but is otherwise consistent across different ages and body weights. While it remains unclear exactly what components of coffee are responsible for the lowered risk, there’s strong suggestion that it is not caffeine, as drinkers of both regular coffee and decaffeinated coffee saw equal benefit in reduced diabetes risk.

The Study:

Mark A. Pereira, Ph.D., led a study group at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, to examine the relationship between coffee consumption and diabetes risk in nearly 29,000 post-menopausal women. In 1986, at the start of the study, women responded to questions about their risk factors for diabetes. Those risk factors included age, body mass index (BMI), alcohol consumption, physical activity and smoking history. In addition, they answered questions about how often they consumed a variety of food and drinks over the previous year. Coffee and decaffeinated coffee were among the beverages asked about.

The data collected in the initial questionnaire showed that about half the women drank one to three cups of coffee a day, about 10% drank more than six cups per day and about 10% drank no coffee at all. In between, about 20% drank four to five cus and about ten percent drank less than one cup a day but drank coffee occasionally.

Over the next 11 years, about 1,400 women reported that they had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The researchers adjusted those figures to account for other diabetes risk factors and determined that women who drank more than six cups of coffee a day were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than women who drank no coffee at all, and those who drank more than six cups of decaffeinated coffee a day saw a reduction in diabetes risk of 33%.

The study’s authors stated that caffeine intake doesn’t seem to be related to lowering diabetes risk, and suggested that perhaps magnesium, a mineral in which coffee is particularly rick – could be partly responsible for the reduction in risk. They also suggested that polyphenols found in coffee beans may also hlep protect cells in the pancrease and contribute to the beneficial effects of coffee on the risk of diabetes.

The study’s authors concluded:

“In summary, we observed an inverse association between coffee consumption, especially decaffeinated coffee consumption, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus over an 11-year period in postmenopausal women residing in the state of Iowa. Although the first line of prevention for diabetes is exercise and diet, in light of the popularity of coffee consumption and high rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus in older adults, these findings may carry high public health significance.