Coffee again associated with a reduced risk of diabetes

While coffee does not enjoy the healthiest of reputations, it has been consistently linked with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in the scientific literature. Back in February, for instance, a German study was published which found that individuals drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day had a 23 per cent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes over a 9-year period compared to those drinking less than one cup a day [1].

This paper is accompanied by an editorial which reviews some of the biochemistry which might explain this association [2]. It points out that while caffeine inhibits the action of insulin (something that would be viewed as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes), other elements in coffee might have a protective effect here. As the editorial points out: “…phenolic compounds in coffee (chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid), magnesium, trigonelline, and quinides have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity.”

Interestingly though, the study referred to above [1] did not find an association between decaffeinated coffee and diabetes risk. This might be for a range of reasons, including a loss of beneficial effects as a result of the decaffeination process. Or perhaps those who drink decaffeinated coffee feel are those who feel sensitive to caffeine and may be somehow metabolically weaker than those who tolerate it better. We just don’t know.

The study referred to above also looked at the association between coffee drinking and other disease processes including cardiovascular disease and cancer. No significant associations were found here.

Overall, this recent study adds further weight to the idea that coffee-drinking at moderate levels is safe and potentially beneficial to health.


1. Floegel A, et al. Coffee consumption and risk of chronic disease in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Germany study. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:901-908

2. Lopez-Garcia E. Coffee consumption and risk of chronic diseases: changing our views. Am J Clin Nutr 7 March 2012 [epub ahead of print]

7 Responses to Coffee again associated with a reduced risk of diabetes

  1. Margaret Wilde 9 March 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Glad to get a Thumbs Up on coffee, since I am a coffee-lover, but I do tend to associate it with raising blood pressure, as written about here:

  2. David Warke 9 March 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Interesting article.
    I am a Diabetic Type II for just a year. I remember reading somewhere that diabetics should avoid drinking coffee. Vaguely remember something to do with an adverse effect on insulin .
    I did stop drinking coffee once I was diagnosed.

  3. Feona 9 March 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Any chance there might be similar benefits in tea, I wonder? I’m not a great coffee drinker, but drink several cups of strong, unsweetened tea a day.

  4. mamaprophet 9 March 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Brill news I love my three cups a day, now I can drink them without feeling guilty.

  5. Anup 11 March 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Term “reduces risk of diabetes” implies test is on non diabetics.
    Anything that kicks up cortisol level shouldn’t it mean bad control of sugar?
    As usual all such researches are always confusing .. have they done this on “DIABETICS” ? If no then such research is no good for Diabetics. Best research is EAT to your meter 🙂

  6. Be careful though with over intake though. Scientists have identified variations of the VDR gene (vitamin D receptor gene) that are labeled TT (normal) and tt (mutated). People with the tt variation who also drink a lot of coffee are at increased risk for bone weakening, calcium loss in the bones, and osteoporosis. Researchers theorize that the caffeine interacts with VDR, decreasing its expression, which reduces the number of vitamin D receptors in cells. This, in turn, decreases calcium absorption. Women with the TT variation are much less affected by consuming caffeine. Someday, when everyone’s genotype can be tested for disease risk, women with the tt variation will be advised to limit caffeine intake to help prevent osteoporosis. For now, scientists suggest that all older women keep coffee intake below 16 ounces (473 milliliters) per day, tea intake below 32 ounces (946 mL), and caffeinated soda below 12 ounces (355 mL). As a nutritionist and an anti aging consultant from Mumbai I advise caution to heavy coffee drinkers to not get overly swayed by the positive vibes that we read and hear about coffee almost every other day in the media.

  7. Julius Juliusson 30 March 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Hehe Good news, thanks for sharing. Best regards from Iceland.

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