About 1 in 10 Americans are living with diabetes, and between 90 and 95 percent of them have Type 2 diabetes. Compelling evidence suggests that increasing your coffee intake could lower your risk for this condition.
Coffee May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
A large study from Harvard University looked at the coffee habits of more than 100,000 people for about 20 years.
Researchers found that people who increased their coffee intake by one cup more per day experienced an 11 percent lower risk of eventually getting Type 2 diabetes.
People who reduced their coffee intake by one cup per day, on the other hand, saw their risk of developing diabetes increase by 17 percent.
“These changes in risk were observed for caffeinated, but not decaffeinated coffee, and were independent of initial coffee consumption and four-year changes [during the study period] in other dietary and lifestyle factors,” the study authors wrote.
Research published in 2012 found that moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) was associated with a 25 percent reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.
These findings build on research from 2009 that found an association between increased coffee drinking and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies found that drinking coffee can help our bodies to burn more fat, which addresses a big risk factor for Type 2 diabetes: being overweight.
“In our analysis of 94 studies with 105 independent groups (984 participants), CAF [caffeine] ingestion significantly increased fat metabolism,” the study authors wrote.
“This is likely due to the presence of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in coffee,” Dr. Michael Green, an OB/GYN at Winona, a female-founded antiaging wellness center and OB hospitalist and site director for OBHG at Northridge Medical Center in Northridge, California, told The Epoch Times.
Coffee Slashes Type 2 Risk for Women with Gestational Diabetes
Compared with the general, healthy female population, women who have experienced gestational diabetes may have a 10-fold increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Drinking coffee may lower this risk, according to scientists at the Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health at the National University of Singapore.
In December 2022, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the findings of a 24-year-long study that looked at more than 4,500 women, mostly white, with a history of gestational diabetes, to compare long-time coffee consumption with risk.
Women who drank two to three cups of coffee decreased their risk by 17 percent, and those who drank one cup or less experienced a 10 percent reduced risk, the study found.
Decaffeinated coffee didn’t have similar benefits, but the study noted that relatively few women preferred it, which could be why no link was detected.
Taking any drug, even caffeine, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding could present risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends talking to your doctor about whether you should limit your caffeine intake.
Reduces Risk of Common Diabetes Complications
Type 2 diabetes can increase our risk of eye problems and cardiovascular and kidney disease.
A meta-analysis found that the more coffee that participants with Type 2 diabetes reported drinking, the lower their risk of experiencing mortality associated with cardiovascular disease. However, researchers did emphasize that more research is needed regarding the type of coffee, whether sugar and cream were added, and participants’ history of cardiovascular disease to present more confident results.
Researchers investigated the relationship between coffee consumption and the decline in kidney function in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
They looked at 3,805 patients with an average age of 64 years (2,112 men, 1,693 women) with Type 2 diabetes and found higher coffee consumption reduced the risk of declining kidney function. Compared with no coffee consumption, those drinking two or more cups per day saw greater risk reduction.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition affecting blood vessels in the back of the eye. It can cause vision loss and blindness in people living with diabetes. A recently published scientific report evaluated the association between diabetic retinopathy prevalence and coffee consumption within a Korean population.
Researchers analyzed data from 1,350 participants with Type 2 diabetes who underwent diabetic retinopathy examination to find that those who drank two or more cups of coffee per day had lower odds of developing the condition compared to those who didn’t drink any coffee.
“Coffee has [also] been shown to improve cognitive function and boost alertness, which can benefit people with Type 2 diabetes who may experience fatigue and lack energy,” Green said.
Coffee Reduces Risk of Liver Disease in People with Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can significantly increase the risk of liver disease, particularly nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Often, NAFLD is a “silent” condition, with few or no symptoms. Composed of different disorders of the liver caused by the accumulation of fat, it can cause liver scarring and cancer.
A new study found that coffee could reduce the severity of NAFLD in people who have Type 2 diabetes and are overweight.
Researchers surveyed 156 overweight, middle-aged participants, of which 98 had Type 2 diabetes, about how much coffee they drank. They also collected daily urine samples that were used to measure caffeine and noncaffeine metabolites, which are natural byproducts resulting from the digestion of coffee.
Findings show that those with higher coffee caffeine consumption, as indicated by urine samples, were much less likely to experience liver disease.
The researchers concluded that caffeine and plant-based micronutrients called polyphenols, found in coffee, may contribute to reducing the severity of NAFLD.
Of course, too much of anything, even something that’s otherwise healthy, can cause problems. Coffee is no different. The FDA cautions that, for healthy adults, about 400 milligrams per day—or four or five cups of coffee, is an amount not “generally associated” with dangerous, negative effects.
“For the most part, as long as you consume coffee moderately, there are no major health concerns,” Dr. Sreenivas Gudimetla, a cardiologist at Texas Health Fort Worth and Texas Health Physicians Group, told The Epoch Times.