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Why Coffee May Reduce Diabetes Risk

Chinese Researchers Zero in on Coffee Substances That May Explain the Benefit

Coffee and Diabetes Risk: Perspective

Explaining the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes among coffee drinkers is an ongoing effort, according to Vivian Fonseca, MD, president for medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association. He is a professor of medicine at Tulane University, New Orleans.

He reviewed the study findings for WebMD. There are many possible mechanisms for explaining the link, he tells WebMD. The Chinese researchers, he says, ''have identified a fairly novel one."

However, he cautions that the study was done in the laboratory. "The next step would be to do studies in animals,'' he says. Next would be studies in people. The lab and animal findings don't always translate to human studies, he says.

Joe Vinson, PhD, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton who has researched coffee, also reviewed the study findings. "We know that coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes and this may be just one of the ways it can do that," he says of the new research. "There may be more."

However, the concentrations of coffee compounds used in the study appear much higher than what the body would get from typical coffee consumption, Vinson says.

Vinson reports being a paid speaker at two National Coffee Association meetings.

Coffee and Diabetes Risk: Take-Homes

There are many measures to take to reduce diabetes risk, Fonseca says.

"Walk 30 minutes a day, lose 5% of your body weight if you are overweight," he says. "While doing that, if you drink a couple of cups of coffee it won't hurt you."

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