Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Coffee, Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk Tied

But Researchers Aren't Ready to Recommend Coffee for Diabetes Prevention
By
WebMD Health News

July 5, 2005 -- People who drink coffee regularly may lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But don't count on a daily jolt of java to fend off diabetes just yet.

The researchers reporting the finding aren't advising coffee as a diabetes prevention method.

They say they found support for the idea that "habitual coffee consumption is associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes."

However, more studies are needed, they write in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Grounds for Research

One of the researchers was Rob M. van Dam, PhD. He works in the nutrition department at Harvard School of Public Health.

He and his colleagues didn't do a new experiment. Instead, they reviewed 15 past studies of coffee and type 2 diabetes.

Nine studies were done over a long time -- six to 20 years. They included a combined total of more than 193,000 people in the U.S. and Europe.

Coffee Findings

People who drank the most coffee had the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes.

They downed at least six or seven cups of coffee per day. They were 35% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those who drank less than two cups of coffee daily.

Those who drank four to six cups per day had a 28% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with people who drank the least coffee, say the researchers.

Similar patterns were seen in six other studies. Those were one-time-only checks; they didn't track diabetes risk over time. More than 17,000 people took part in those projects.

Filtered, Instant, Decaf Brews

Been in a coffee shop lately? If so, you've seen the array of coffee styles.

If coffee has some advantage against diabetes, does it matter what kind you drink?

The findings mainly reflect consumption of drip-filtered coffee. The studies didn't have as many drinkers of instant or unfiltered coffees, say the researchers.

What about decaf coffee? The European studies didn't distinguish between caffeinated and decaf coffee and diabetes risk.

But decaf coffee was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk in two U.S. studies, say the researchers.

Milk & Sugar

Do milk and sugar make a difference?

A Swedish study tracked insulin sensitivity when milk, cream, or sugar was added to coffee or tea.

Insulin is a hormone made by the body to control blood sugar.

In that study, insulin sensitivity dropped when sugar was added to coffee or tea. Insulin sensitivity didn't change when only milk or cream was added, say the researchers.

"For most people, the amount of sugar and milk added to coffee is small compared to other food sources," say van Dam and colleagues.

Pattern, Not Proof

Coffee wasn't directly tested for diabetes prevention. No one was asked to change their coffee consumption.

The coffee drinkers weren't healthier. "Higher coffee consumption was generally associated with a less healthy lifestyle," say the researchers.

Future work should examine coffee's key ingredients, say van Dam and colleagues.

"Currently, it is premature to recommend increasing coffee consumption as a public health strategy to prevent type 2 diabetes," they write.

"Other health effects of coffee should also be considered."

A study reported by WebMD showed that regular coffee drinkers had more stiffness to major blood vessels compared with noncoffee drinkers. Decreased elasticity of major blood vessels is a risk factor for developing heart disease including heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is a leading killer in the U.S.

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