A nine-year study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed your daily Starbucks habit could reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
“There have been conflicting results from previous studies regarding coffee’s effect on chronic disease risk depending on the type of disease,” said Anna Floegel, the study’s lead author. “That is why we decided to look at different diseases at the same time to estimate the overall health effect of coffee consumption.”
Floegel and her team looked at diet, exercise, and other health factors from over 42,000 German adults without any chronic conditions. Among these numerous factors including how much coffee they drank.
The nine-year study followed up on participants every two or three years to see if they developed any health problems, including heart disease, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and cancer.
Researchers found coffee and non-coffee drinkers equally likely to develop one of these diseases. About one of every 10 people developed a chronic disease, whether or not they drank coffee.
Except for diabetes.
The study found coffee drinkers were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who skipped the java.
Now, granted, the numbers weren’t that significant. While 3.6% of non-coffee drinkers developed diabetes, that number went down to 3.2% for people who drank about four cups of coffee every day.
But once researchers accounted for other factors that contribute to diabetes, including obesity, they found frequent coffee drinkers were an impressive 23% less likely to develop diabetes.
If you love coffee as much as I do, you’re thrilled about these studies. (Okay, maybe not thrilled. But at least satisfied.)
For too long, coffee got a bad rep. You might have heard the debate about whether it raises blood sugar and insulin levels, and you’re no doubt familiar with urban legends about how coffee contributes to some disease or other.
If you’re guzzling enough coffee to give new meaning to the term “bottomless cup,” you could very well be raising your blood sugar and lots of other bad things. Coffee, like red wine, is not one of those more-is-better healthy drinks.
But a cup or two of organic, freshly ground coffee every morning can provide numerous health benefits, including raising your antioxidant levels and, as this study shows, reducing your risk for diabetes.
This isn’t the first study to prove that. A study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine for instance, also found that long-term coffee consumption could significantly lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Keep in mind that coffee doesn’t prevent diabetes. You can’t just guzzle four cups of sugar-loaded coffee along with your chocolate chip scone and expect not to get diabetes. But then, you knew that.
Coffee, however, can lower your risk for diabetes, though we’re not exactly sure how. It’s probably not caffeine, since researchers in this study found decaf drinkers also lowered their risk.
It could be cholorogenic acid, one of the most prevalent antioxidants in coffee, which a study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism showed reduces absorption of new glucose and slows sugar release into your bloodstream after you eat.
Now, if you’re not a coffee drinker, I’m not suggesting you start. Green tea also provides antioxidants and other benefits without the caffeine jitters too much coffee can create.
But if a cup of java jumpstarts your day, and you can’t imagine your morning without it, you can take comfort that you’re not doing your health any harm and are probably getting numerous benefits from coffee.