Those who drink more coffee (regular or decaffeinated) or tea appear to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis of previous studies reported in the December 14/28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Diabetes is a growing health threat to our population. By the year 2025, approximately 380 million individuals worldwide will be affected by type 2 diabetes, according to background information in the article. “Despite considerable research attention, the role of specific dietary and lifestyle factors remains uncertain, although obesity and physical inactivity have consistently been reported to raise the risk of diabetes,” the authors write.
Previously published research has suggested that drinking more coffee may be linked with a reduced risk.
Dr. Rachel Huxley of the University of Sydney (Australia) and her colleagues found that each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 7 percent reduction in the excess risk of diabetes. Individuals who drank three to four cups per day had an approximately 25 percent lower risk than those who drank between zero and two cups per day.
In addition, in the studies that assessed decaffeinated coffee consumption, those who drank more than three to four cups per day had about a one-third lower risk of diabetes than those who drank none. Those who drank more than three to four cups of tea had a one-fifth lower risk than those who drank no tea.
“That the apparent protective effect of tea and coffee consumption appears to be independent of a number of potential confounding variables raises the possibility of direct biological effects,” the authors write. Because of the association between decaffeinated coffee and diabetes risk, the association is unlikely to be solely related to caffeine. Other compounds in coffee and tea—including magnesium, antioxidants known as lignans or chlorogenic acids—may be involved, the authors note.
The authors state that the implications for the millions of individuals who have diabetes mellitus, or who are at future risk of developing it, could be substantial." They conclude, “For example, the identification of the active components of these beverages would open up new therapeutic pathways for the primary prevention of diabetes mellitus."