Consuming coffee could lower diabetes risk

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A recent study done in America has suggested that increasing the consumption of coffee slightly could reduce the risk of diabetes. It appears that those who drink three or more cups of the beverage have the lowest risk.

Harvard University’s School of Public Health completed analysis taken from data regarding the coffee consumption of more than 120,000 people over a number of years. They results indicated that an increase of more than one cup per day during a four-year period lowered the chances of developing diabetes in subsequent years by 11%.

It indicated that people who drank three or more cups each day had a risk level which was 37% lower than those who regularly drink one or less cups each day.

This study is the latest one to suggest that there is a potential link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of diabetes. Researchers involved in the trial have stated that they need to do bigger, clinical trials to confirm these findings, although they believe that the existing evidence of the benefits of coffee are well established.

Experts in the UK have stated that there is still no clarity that the lower risk scores indicated in the study were due to coffee consumption.

The co-leader of the study from Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, Dr Shilpa Bhupathiraju, has stated that although maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise were the best methods of lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, there were ‘biologically plausible’ theories as to the reasons why coffee may also be of help.

She stated that coffee contains several bio-active compounds, including chlorogenic acid. This acid is responsible for the improvement of glucose metabolism when it was tested in animals. Coffee contains a high level of magnesium which is known for its aid in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. She stated that the biological plausibility of the advantages of coffee is extremely strong.

Individuals who suffer with type 2 diabetes are unable to regulate the sugar levels in their bodies. This is because they are unable to produce sufficient insulin or their body cells do not react with insulin. Increased sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels and body organs. Obesity and being overweight are major risk factors for this type of diabetes. People aged over 40 and those from Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern and South Asian origins are at much higher risk.

The current recommended safe caffeine consumption limit is around 400mg. This equates to about four mugs of instant coffee. Pregnant women are advised to consume only half of the recommended amount.

The study involved caffeine consumption of about 100mg. The link to the diabetes risk was not considered for tea drinkers or decaffeinated coffee drinkers.

A spokesperson for Diabetes UK, Dr Richard Elliott, has stated that although the study suggested a link between diabetes and coffee, other factors that have not been identified may be involved. He said that it may be possible that a high risk of type 2 diabetes may encourage people to reduce their coffee consumption. He stated that what is known is that regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet is the most effective manner to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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