Coffee Consumption Linked to Lowering Risk of Diabetes, New Study Finds

A recent study has shown that regular coffee drinkers are about half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who do not consume coffee.

Reuters Health reports that a long-term study conducted by researchers at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece has shown promising results for people who drink coffee regularly, adding on to a wealth of evidence that suggests coffee is good for one’s health.

“Extensive research has revealed that coffee drinking exhibits both beneficial and aggravating health effects,” said Prof. Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, a co-author of the study. “An inverse relation between coffee intake and diabetes has been reported in many prospective studies whereas some have yielded insignificant results.”

Panagiotakos was careful to point out that the study used a random sample rather than a control group, so the results of the study aren’t conclusive in the strict scientific sense. Still, the researchers’ findings bring scientists closer to establishing a definite cause-and-effect hypothesis for coffee consumption.

The study was conducted over 10 years and involved more than 1,300 adult men and women in Athens. Beginning in 2001, the participants filled out a questionnaire regarding their diet habits, including coffee consumption. According to the questionnaire, drinking less than 1.5 cups of coffee a day was considered “casual” coffee drinking while drinking more than 1.5 cups was considered “habitual.” Of the participants, 816 were casual drinkers, 385 were habitual drinkers, and 239 didn’t consume coffee at all.

In addition to the questionnaire, the participants also had their blood evaluated for protein markers of inflammation and antioxidant levels.

Ten years later, 191 of the participants had diabetes. Most of those with the disease were casual or non-drinkers. Habitual drinkers were 54% less likely to develop diabetes compared to non-drinkers. Factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, family history, and dietary habits were taken into consideration.

“Previous studies pointed in the same direction…now we have an additional hint,” said Dr. Marc Y. Donath, Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland. Donath was not part of the study.

Coffee is one of the world’s most consumed liquids. Business Insider, for example, reports that approximately 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year around the world.

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