COMMENTARY

Coffee and Type 2 Diabetes -- Drink Up?

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD

Disclosures

September 10, 2014

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Hello. I'm Dr. Sandra Fryhofer. Welcome to Medicine Matters. The topic: coffee and benefits you need to know about. A new study in the journal Diabetologia says your morning cup of joe may stave off type 2 diabetes.[1] Here is why it matters.

First, my disclaimer: I love my morning coffee and that is probably why this new observational study caught my eye. And the study has appeal for both sexes. It combines three large US cohorts: 48,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), 47,000 women in NHS II, and 27,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. This adds up to more than 1.6 million person-years of follow-up.

Dietary assessments were done every four years, including details about coffee and tea intake. Patients were also asked to self-report a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. More than 7000 of them did.

The results? Coffee lovers, rejoice. The highest coffee consumers had the lowest diabetes risk. Those who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had a 37% lower risk for diabetes as compared to those who limited their intake to one cup per day.

Drinking more may be better. Those who increased their daily coffee intake by one-and-a-half cups had an 11% lower risk of getting diabetes as compared to those who didn't boost their java intake.

If you are worried about getting diabetes, this study suggests that you not cut back on your morning pleasure. Those who cut coffee intake by two cups per day had a 17% higher risk of developing diabetes.

In this study, one cup was just eight ounces of straight-up black, regular, caffeinated coffee -- not decaf and no lattes, no cappuccinos, and not much milk and sugar. Which cuts into my daily routine of adding milk, half low-fat milk (but no added sugar), to boost my daily calcium intake.

So what about tea? In this study, tea intake had no effect on diabetes risk. But also in this study, not that many people drank tea and not that many changed the amount of tea they did drink.

I love the bottom line of this study. Moderate coffee consumption -- that is, up to 6 eight-ounce cups per day -- may help prevent type 2 diabetes. So drink up and enjoy. For Medicine Matters, I'm Dr. Sandra Fryhofer.

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