How Drinking Coffee May Lower Your Risk for Diabetes

Decades ago, many scientists believed that drinking coffee was bad for health. However, studies have shown that enjoying a daily cup or two of Joe, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, may lengthen your life span and lower the risk for chronic disease. One of the most striking findings is that coffee drinkers are less prone to developing Type 2 diabetes. Many large studies have found that people who drink three to four cups of coffee daily have about a 25% lower risk of the disease compared with people who drink little or no coffee. The likelihood of developing diabetes decreases about 6 percent for each cup of coffee you consume daily — but only up to about six cups.

Many of the studies on coffee and health come with an important caveat. They are usually large observational studies, which show correlations — not cause and effect. This means that something else could explain the findings. Perhaps coffee drinkers also are more likely to exercise more, drink less alcohol, eat healthier diets, or engage in other habits that boost their health. But there are other reasons to believe that the findings are not a mirage. Coffee’s protective effect against diabetes persists even when scientists take these other lifestyle behaviors into account. The effect has been found in dozens of studies involving more than a million participants across Europe, North America, and Asia.

Researchers have also shown that the risk rises and falls with changes in coffee consumption. In studies that tracked thousands of men and women over two decades, scientists found that when coffee drinkers increased their coffee intake by an extra cup or two a day, their risk of diabetes fell 11 percent. But when people decreased their coffee intake by roughly the same amount, their likelihood of developing diabetes rose by 17 percent. Scientists did not see the same effect when they looked at changes in tea consumption.

Coffee is more than just a delivery system for caffeine. It has hundreds of other compounds that can have surprising effects on our metabolism. In the short term, when you drink coffee, especially if you don’t drink it regularly, the caffeine it contains triggers the fight-or-flight response, which stimulates higher adrenaline levels, increased blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and a reduction in your insulin sensitivity.

Chlorogenic acid, a potent polyphenol found in coffee, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. It reduces inflammation and increases protein production, which is crucial for cell repair and DNA protection. Studies show that these effects occur in organs throughout the body, particularly in the liver and beta cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin and play a critical role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Habitually drinking coffee may lower the risk of diabetes by preventing the deterioration of liver and beta cell function.

However, health authorities recommend that healthy adults consume no more than about 400 mgs of caffeine daily, equivalent to four or five cups of brewed coffee. Studies show that two to five cups daily is the range in which people are most likely to see health benefits such as a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Doctors may recommend cutting back on coffee if someone has a sleep disorder, cardiac issues, or glaucoma.

If you don’t drink coffee and don’t particularly enjoy it, don’t feel pressure to start. For those who do drink it daily, it’s nice to know that your morning coffee may be doing more for your health.

Read More @ Washington Post

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