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Drink Up! Coffee Fights Type 2 Diabetes

Apr. 29, 2014|244 views

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For several years, research has mounted suggesting there’s a link between drinking coffee and avoiding various illnesses. Now, it’s become apparent that drinking coffee is linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That’s significant, because type 2 diabetes is at epidemic proportions in the United States, and in much of the developed world. Along with other common conditions that often accompany it—such as high blood pressure, obesity, and atherosclerosis—
a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes means a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and when several of these conditions exist simultaneously, a person may be said to have the “metabolic syndrome.” 

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body gradually loses the ability to produce insulin from specialized cells within the pancreas. Insulin is a crucial hormone that enables cells to take up sugar from the bloodstream and use if for energy. Patients often suffer a host of symptoms related to poorly-controlled blood sugar. And they’re at increased risk for a number of serious consequences—including a greater risk of death.

Now, research by Harvard-based scientists has shown that increasing your intake of coffee over four years can dramatically impact your risk of developing diabetes. Essentially, what they discovered was this: People who changed their drinking habits to consume at least three cups of coffee per day enjoyed a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to people who drank one or fewer cups of the brew daily. The difference in disease risk was 37% between the two groups.

Changes in tea consumption did not have as great an impact on risk, nor did decaffeinated coffee have the same impact on relative risk as regular coffee. The bottom line appears to be that there’s nothing to fear from drinking regular, caffeinated coffee. On the contrary, it appears to be highly beneficial. 

Shilpa Bhupathiraju et al. Changes in coffee intake and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: three large cohorts of US men and women. Diabetologia, April 2014 DOI: 10.1007/s00125-014-3235-
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