Drink Lots of Coffee?
Men who drink more than six eight-ounce cups of caffeinated coffee a day lower their risk of type 2 diabetes by a whopping 50 percent, while women who drink the same amount decrease their risk of the disease by nearly 30 percent, reports The Associated Press of an 18-year research study involving 126,000 people conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health. Those who drink decaf enjoy a more modest level of protection, specifically a 25 percent risk reduction for men and 15 percent for women. There is no statistically significant link between diabetes and tea drinking.
Here's the catch, besides the rather intense java jolt six cups of coffee would provide: The experts aren't quite sure it's the coffee--or something else about coffee drinkers--that offers the protection. "The evidence is quite strong that regular coffee is protective against diabetes," Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health told AP. "The question is whether we should recommend coffee consumption as a strategy. I don't think we're there yet."
It would be quite a health boon if this plays out to be a diabetes-prevention strategy. The disease is on the rise and most at risk are fat, sedentary individuals--no matter their age. People who have type 2 diabetes either do not make enough insulin or their bodies don't use it properly, which can lead to blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, and possible amputations, reports AP. While previous research has shown that caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity and raises blood sugar, coffee also contains potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants that may counteract
these negative effects and improve the body's response to insulin. The Harvard study results are in agreement with a similar study of 17,000 Dutch adults. The research findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.