Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Caffeine Risks May Rattle Diabetic People

Study Shows Caffeine Elevates Blood Glucose Levels in People With Diabetes

Diabetes, Coffee, and Caffeine continued...

"We did do one study where we put caffeine in decaf coffee, and still we saw the same exaggeration of glucose after meals in people with diabetes," he says. "So it seems those other compounds in coffee certainly don't eliminate the caffeine effect we have seen."

So what should people do if they have diabetes or are at high risk of diabetes?

"We take a more nuanced posture -- not that coffee is good for you or bad for you, but that maybe it's better to switch to decaf coffee if you have diabetes or the metabolic syndrome," van Dam says.

Lane says people with diabetes are likely to get different effects from coffee.

"I am not going to say that everyone with diabetes has to quit drinking coffee, but I think those who are concerned about their blood sugar not being as low as they'd like it to be should try quitting coffee," he says. "They will be able to tell right away if it improves their glucose control. And it may help reduce their risk of complications of diabetes or reduce their need for additional diabetes medications."

For regular coffee drinkers, Lane says, quitting caffeine may mean three or four days of headache, sleepiness, or mental grogginess. But it does not mean interminable morning misery.

"Every morning we wake up in withdrawal, thinking we need coffee to wake us up -- but it really is just helping us get rid of withdrawal symptoms from not drinking coffee overnight," he says. "Once we get off, well, I wake up feeling better than I did when I was drinking coffee. I don't feel groggy or tired. Everyone I talk to has had a similar experience -- it is not that we become zombies after quitting drinking coffee."

Lane and colleagues report their findings in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

1 | 2

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