Good morning! Don’t be afraid to reach for that fragrant, steaming cup of coffee to start your day. A recently-published study has determined that drinking coffee may cut in half your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and researchers think the anti-inflammatory effect of java may be the reason.
Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos of the department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, co-author of the study, says:
Extensive research has revealed that coffee drinking exhibits both beneficial and aggravating health effects.
An inverse relation between coffee intake and diabetes has been reported in many prospective studies whereas some have yielded insignificant results.
In 2001 and 2002, the research team chose a random sample of about 1,300 men and women, age 18 and older. They asked them to complete dietary questionnaires that included information about their coffee consumption.
Participants who drank less than 1.5 cups of coffee daily were called “casual” consumers, and more than 1.5 cups daily was “habitual” consumption. There were 816 casual consumers, 385 habitual consumers, and 239 who did not consume coffee at all.
Blood tests administered to the participants evaluated levels of protein markers for inflammation. Antioxidant levels were also measured, to check the body’s ability to neutralize “free radicals,” which damage cells.
After ten years, 191 participants had developed diabetes, including 13 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women. People who consumed more coffee had a lower likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
Habitual consumers were 54 percent less likely to develop the disease, compared to those who did not drink coffee, even after adjusting for smoking, high blood pressure, a family history of the diabetes, and consumption of other caffeinated drinks.
Higher coffee consumption correlated with lower levels of serum amyloid, an inflammatory marker in the blood. This study supports the conclusions of earlier studies.
Panagiotakos said his group’s findings are supported by different, ongoing research that involves 836 participants who did not have diabetes at the onset of that study. Seven years into that study, high levels of amyloid and C-reactive protein (another inflammatory marker) “were found to precede the onset of diabetes, independently of other risk factors,” he explained.
He said other influences may also be part of the equation:
Oxidative stress has been shown to accelerate the dysfunction of pancreatic b-cells and antioxidants intake has been shown to decrease diabetes risk, so the antioxidant components of coffee may be beneficial, but still more research is needed toward this direction.
Other scientists have found the association between coffee consumption and the risk of diabetes is stronger for women and non-smokers. They emphasize that, regardless of coffee consumption, the best protection against diabetes remains exercise and weight management.