Coffee and Tea May Help Prevent Diabetes

For years, researchers have tried to figure out if drinking coffee is bad for your health, but study after study has shown just the opposite. In fact, time and again, both coffee and tea have been linked with good health. Now we know there's something in these brews that may help control insulin production and that, in turn, can help prevent diabetes. If you're a coffee or tea drinker, the message is: Keep it up!

When at least 18 separate scientific studies yield similar results, it's a good bet the researchers may have stumbled on a sure thing. Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia did just that when they analyzed and compared the findings of 18 studies, performed over the course of 45 years, on coffee and tea consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The results, which were published in a December 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicate that coffee and tea—both caffeinated and decaffeinated—can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes.  These findings add to the ever-growing body of evidence that coffee and tea won't hurt your health and may even help

The researchers found that decaffeinated coffee did the most to lower diabetes risk. Study participants who drank three to four cups a day reduced their risk by more than one-third, or 30 percent, compared to those who didn't drink decaf coffee. Those who drank an equivalent amount of regular coffee reduced their risk by about one-fourth, or 25 percent, compared to non-drinkers. And those who drank three to four cups of tea every day reduced their risk of developing diabetes by about one-fifth, or 20 percent.

Large-scale, clinical studies are needed to confirm the results of this review of smaller, retrospective studies before any expert will recommended coffee or tea as a preventive or therapeutic treatment for diabetes. Researchers must find out exactly what it is in coffee and tea that is effective against the disease and then determine how these substances actually affect insulin production and blood sugar levels.

Because of the powerful effect of decaffeinated coffee, the researchers do not think caffeine is providing the protective effects, or at least not caffeine alone. Both coffee and tea contain also antioxidants, powerful disease fighters that help prevent cell destruction in the body. These, or the minute amounts of nutrients found in coffee and tea, are more likely to be responsible for the postiive effects.


Reuters: More evidence coffee, tea could rpevent diabetes

Harvard School of Public Health: Coffee and Health

New Jersey Medical School Archives