Coffee lovers received some good news from Harvard University researchers yesterday, April 24, when a study published in Diabetologia, a European-based journal focused on the study of diabetes, revealed a relationship between increased coffee consumption and decreased incidence of diabetes.
While many of us might drink the brew of that roasted brown and black bean to get through the work day or make getting out of bed just a little easier, scientists have found that there could be some serious health benefits blended into your morning Joe as well.
The study, which observed more than 120,000 health professionals over a four year span, tracked the dietary habits of its subjects and compared the effects of both increased and decreased coffee consumption. Measurements were not based off the total number of cups drunk per day, but rather the relative rise or fall in consumption for each subject compared with when the study began.
Those who upped their intake by at least one cup per day were found to have reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 11% when compared with those who maintained a steady level of java ingestion. Conversely, those who decreased their intake by at least a cup per day were 17% more liable to contract the disorder.
This is not the first research to show a relationship between coffee and diabetes (or other chronic illnesses, for that matter); previous studies have shown that drinking several cups of coffee or tea a day can help to reduce one’s odds of having diabetes. No prior study, however, focused on how alterations in coffee consumption impact risk.
It is not presently known exactly why coffee has the bearing it does on diabetes. Existing premises theorize that certain chemicals present in coffee, such as phenolic compounds and lignans, could help the body better metabolize glucose. Coffee is also rich in magnesium, which has been linked to decreased chances of contracting diabetes as well.
Oddly enough, changes in decaffeinated coffee consumption did not correlate to an increased or decreased risk of diabetes, even though current theories as to why coffee has this effect do not cite caffeine as a pertinent component in diabetes prevention. This might simply be the result of a smaller sample size of decaf drinkers in the study.
While having an extra cup a day could very well decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers warn that the caffeinated brew can only go so far, and that a healthy diet and lifestyle are vital to disease prevention. Coffee might have the potential to prevent diabetes, but loading up on excessive cream and sugar could be counterproductive.