Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Drinking Lots of Coffee May Prevent Diabetes

By
WebMD Health News

March 9, 2004 -- Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day may give you the jitters, but it may also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Finnish researchers found people who drank at least 3-4 cups of coffee a day had a nearly 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in the March 10 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, shows the protective effects of coffee on diabetes risk increased as coffee consumption increased, especially among women.

Women who drank more 10 or more cups of coffee a day had a 79% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and men who drank the same amount had a 55% lower risk.

Coffee May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Researchers say only a few studies have looked at the relationship between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk, even though coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. Those studies have also suggested that coffee lowers the risk of diabetes.

But in this study, researchers examined the effects of drinking coffee on type 2 diabetes risk among a large group of Finnish men and women, who have the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world.

Researchers combined surveys conducted in 1982, 1987, and 1992 of nearly 15,000 healthy Finnish men and women aged 35 to 64 who had no history of diabetes or other chronic diseases at the start of the study.

They found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreased as the amount of daily coffee consumed increased, and those effects were stronger among women than men.

Men who drank 3-4 cups of coffee a day had a 27% lower risk of diabetes.

  • Women who drank 3-4 cups of coffee a day had a 29% lower risk of diabetes.
  • Men who drank 7-9 cups per day had a 33% lower risk of diabetes.
  • Women who drank 7-9 cups per day had a 61% lower risk of diabetes.

Too Soon to Reach for a Second Cup

Researchers say the mechanism behind coffee's beneficial effects in reducing type 2 diabetes risk is unknown, but there are several possible explanations.

For example, coffee contains several ingredients, such as magnesium, antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and others, which may affect blood sugar regulation. Caffeine is also thought to affect insulin secretion. Abnormalities in insulin levels and its actions in lowering blood sugar are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

"Expanded investigation is required to explore these mechanisms, including randomized controlled trials," write researcher Jaakko Tuomilehto, MD, PhD, of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues.

But until coffee's effect on diabetes risk is fully understood, researchers say it's too soon to recommend that people increase their daily dose of coffee. Other studies have suggested that drinking large amounts of coffee may pose other health risks, such as causing blood pressure levels to spike.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections