Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Caffeine Tied to Blood Sugar Problems

But Don't Be Too Quick to Blame Coffee, Say Researchers
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News

Mar. 9, 2005 -- Caffeine can interfere with blood sugar.

But don't shelve your coffee mug just yet. Coffee might not be the culprit. In fact, it may offer some protection against diabetesit may offer some protection against diabetes, say researchers.

Sound confusing? The final verdict isn't in yet. Keep things simple by watching your caffeine intake from all sources. Besides coffee, caffeine is also found in some soft drinks, teas, and chocolate (in smaller amounts).

Caffeine's Buzz Is Common

Just about everyone has at least some caffeine every dayeveryone has at least some caffeine every day, and the numbers are rising for people aged 2-54 years.

Nearly 90% of U.S. adults and 76% of children have caffeine on a daily basis. Soft drinks are the top source for kids; for adults, coffee is No. 1, followed by soft drinks and teas. That's according to a study in January's Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Checking nutritional labels doesn't always help. Food and drink makers don't have to list the amount of caffeine on the Nutrition Facts label.

Want to start tracking your caffeine? Here's how much caffeine is in popular drinks:

  • Coffee (8 ounces, brewed): about 135 mg
  • Caffeinated tea (8 ounces): about 50 mg
  • Coca-Cola (12 ounces): about 34.5 mg
  • Diet Coke (12 ounces): 46.5 mg

Charting Caffeine's Effects

Participants included 23 white men. Eight were lean, seven were obese and had type 2 diabetes, and eight were obese but did not have diabetes.

They drank up to 5 cups a day of coffee or tea, with two men favoring decaffeinated versions.

The men were then put through a test to determine the men's insulin sensitivity.insulin sensitivity. This is a measure of how well the body is responding to insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. If insulin sensitivity is decreased, blood sugar levels can rise. This is a sign that someone either has or is at increased risk of having diabetes.

Prior to the test the men were given either caffeine tablets equal to 2 to 3 cups of coffee or a placebo.

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 or 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

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
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