Drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2010;58(9):5597-603).
Researchers fed either water or coffee to a group of laboratory mice commonly used to study diabetes. Coffee consumption prevented the development of high-blood sugar and also improved insulin sensitivity in the mice, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.
Coffee also caused a cascade of other beneficial changes in the fatty liver and inflammatory adipocytokines related to a reduced diabetes risk. Additional lab studies showed that caffeine may be “one of the most effective anti-diabetic compounds in coffee,” the scientists said.
Researchers at Nagoya University have reported evidence that drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes, and that coffee can ameliorate the effects of fatty liver, hyperglycemia and improve insulin sensitivity.
The research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, fed diabetes-prone mice either water or diluted coffee for five weeks. The coffee-drinking mice showed improved insulin sensitivity, reduced fatty liver and lower levels of inflammatory adipocytokines – all factors known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Previous research has also linked coffee drinking to lowered risk of diabetes. A meta-analysis of research, conducted last year at the George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney, found that each cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduction in the excess risk of diabetes, and those drinking 3-4 cups a day had a 25% lower risk between those drinking 0-2 cups.
Even decaffeinated coffee had an effect, with those drinking 3-4 cups of decaf a day clocking a 33% lower risk than non-drinkers. Tea had less of an effect, with 3-4 cups a day translating to one-fifth lower risk than those who drank none.
These protective effects appeared to be independent of other potentially confounding variables. The link between decaf coffee and lowered risk suggests that the active component is more than just caffeine, although the Nagoya research suggests it may be one of the most effective components.