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Coffee and Tea Reduce Risk for Type 2 Diabetes


Do you love a good cup of tea or coffee, regular or decaf? Then you will probably really be happy to hear the results of a new study that appears in the December 14/28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers report that the more coffee or tea you drink, the more you reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

If this information sounds familiar, you are right in thinking that similar study results have been reported in the past. However, this most recent study, conducted by a team at the University of Sydney, Australia, evaluated 31 studies that involved nearly one million participants in total: 18 studies involved diabetes risk and coffee consumption (457,922 subjects), six looked at decaffeinated coffee (225,516), and seven reported on tea consumption (286,701).

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The meta-analysis revealed that people who drank three to four cups of regular coffee daily had an approximately 25 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than those who drank zero to two cups daily. If decaffeinated coffee is your preference, you may be glad to hear that participants who drank more than three to four cups daily had about a 33 percent lower risk of diabetes than people who drank no decaffeinated coffee. For tea drinkers, those who consumed more than three to four cups per day had a 20 percent lower risk than those who drank no tea.

This study is important for several reasons, one of which is that caffeine does not appear to be the sole reason for the reduced risk of diabetes among coffee drinkers, as decaffeinated coffee provided a significant benefit as well. The study’s authors noted that both coffee and tea contain antioxidants—lignans or chlorogenic acids—as well as magnesium, any of which may have an impact on development of diabetes.

Despite these findings, further studies are needed to determine if the protective benefits from drinking coffee and tea are real and lasting. Even if they are, drinking lots of coffee and tea to help prevent diabetes would be just one preventive measure taken by people at risk for developing diabetes. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes that can be controlled include being overweight or obese, sedentary lifestyle, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and impaired glucose tolerance.

American Diabetes Association
Archives of Internal Medicine 2009; 169(22): 2053-63