Coffee and Diabetes
Coffee and diabetes generally don’t mix. However, if you have high pre-diabetes, having coffee can actually reduce your risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes. That said, if you drink a lot of coffee and diabetes concerns you, you should exercise caution when drinking it. Coffee and diabetes usually aren’t a good pair as coffee often spikes insulin and glucose levels in the short term. It is also important to note that taking your coffee with sweeteners negates the purpose of coffee for diabetes prevention. These sweeteners may, in fact, enhance the risk of developing diabetes. Nonetheless, trying out coffee could indeed be beneficial, with mounting evidence showing a wide selection of benefits.
Additional research suggests that coffee is effective in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease, depression, liver disease and certain cancer types. This article is an analysis of coffee as a preventative substance for diabetes and its effects on insulin and glucose. This also includes its other health benefits and risks and warnings of taking coffee for your diabetes. It will also look at the combined effects of coffee and diabetes on the body.
What Is Diabetes?
Mayo Clinic defines diabetes as a disease or group of diseases that affect the physiological production of blood sugar. Blood glucose is one of the most important of nutrients that you need; it’s the fuel for your muscles, tissues, and brain. When you develop diabetes, you have too much blood sugar in your bloodstream, which becomes toxic. This, in turn, can lead to a wide range of health complications. The most severe types of Diabetes are type 1 and type 2, both of which can be life-threatening.
Other less chronic ones include gestational diabetes that you may develop during pregnancy, which typically goes away after you give birth, and pre-diabetes, in which your blood glucose levels are above the recommended levels, but are not high enough to be considered diabetes. If you experience symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, unexplained loss of weight, and increased thirst, you may need to consult your doctor, as this may indicate the development of diabetes.
Coffee as Possible Prevention of Diabetes
The health benefits that you may experience from consuming coffee as a diabetes preventive may vary. A recently published Harvard study that tracked 100,000 people over two decades makes for interesting reading on the benefits of coffee for the prevention of diabetes. Concentrating on a four-year period, the researchers established that if you increase your coffee intake to an average of more than a cup a day, you reduce your risk of developing type two diabetes by just over 10%. However, if you cut down on your coffee intake and average less than a cup a day, your risk of developing diabetes rises by up to 17%.
While tea has similar compounds to coffee, the study found no correlation between taking tea and diabetes risk. This may mean that caffeine is not responsible for the reduction in risk of developing diabetes. However, keep in mind that caffeine will still increase your insulin and glucose levels over the short term.
Effects of Coffee and Diabetes on Glucose and Insulin
A Diabetes Care study published in 2004 established that if you have type 2 diabetes, you will get a bump in post-meal blood glucose after a dose of caffeine. Additionally, a dose of caffeine resulted in an increase in insulin resistance, meaning that while it could reduce the risk of developing diabetes, it may be potentially risky if you already have type 2 diabetes. However, as you develop tolerance to coffee over the long term, the negative effect on insulin and glucose sensitivity will drop, while the beneficial effects become more pronounced. However, it is important to note that how your body responds to caffeine and coffee depends on whether you have diabetes or not.
A Duke University research study established that drinking coffee during the day would result in a rise in blood glucose levels for habitual drinkers. Moreover, it showed that blood glucose was higher on days that you drink coffee than on days that you do not, meaning that it would be advisable to stay off the coffee if you already have type 2 diabetes.
Other Health Benefits of Coffee
Numerous studies have established that coffee has many other benefits apart from reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Mayo Clinic argues that many case studies in the past did not take into account other risks that coffee may pose to drinkers in their research. However, contemporary studies are now taking into account not only the benefits of coffee for your health but also analyze the risk factors in a controlled setting. Some of the benefits that you may get from drinking coffee and caffeine include a reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, Alzheimer’s disease, gout, liver disease (including liver cancer), and Parkinson’s disease.
Other studies have shown that taking coffee has a high correlation with the reduction in depression risk and an increase in cognitive capabilities, including thought clarity and greater focus. With ongoing research, it is inevitable that many more health benefits of coffee for your health will be discovered.
Coffee with Added Ingredients
You should always exercise caution when increasing your coffee intake on a diabetes diet. Particularly so, if you are concerned about developing type 2 diabetes. This is particularly true if you like to take your coffee with added dairy products or sweeteners. While coffee has many health benefits, coffees from café chains typically contain many unhealthy carbs from the sugar and cream. By taking such unhealthy coffee, you are essentially negating any positive effects of the coffee. Once you take any coffee that has added dairy products or sweeteners, you actually increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Having such high-carb, high-fat coffee on the regular can cause insulin resistance, ultimately causing the development of type 2 diabetes. The best way to ensure you get the protective benefits of coffee is by opting for skinny coffee. It gives you the morning wake up minus the massive sugar rush.
Risks and Warnings
Even if you are perfectly healthy, you may experience some side effect from the caffeine in coffee. Some of the common side effects include anxiety, restlessness, and headaches. As such, coffee and diabetes together can increase a patient’s anxiety level even more. As with anything that you consume, the saying that too much of something is poisonous also holds true with coffee. The key to getting the benefits of coffee and caffeine is drinking the beverage in moderation. Nonetheless, even if you drink coffee sparingly, there are risks from drinking the beverage as part of a diabetes diet. You may need to discuss these risks with your doctor before upping your intake.
Such warnings and risks may include elevated blood glucose levels post meals, increase in cholesterol from the espresso or unfiltered types of coffee, cream or too many sweeteners to your coffee, which can increase the danger of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes, and increased risk of heartburn. More importantly, never let young children take caffeinated drinks, and do not allow adolescents more than 100 milligrams a day.
You should not depend on any supplement or food to protect you from the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, the best way to reduce diabetes risk is by exercising if you are sedentary. Another method is to lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Even if you love coffee, drinking it regularly may not be the solution to manage or reduce diabetes risk. While research studies have established evidence that coffee is effective in the prevention of diabetes, taking up coffee may not be enough to guarantee positive outcomes.
One of the most important things to remember when considering increasing your coffee intake to reduce your risk of diabetes is that the effectiveness of the coffee depends on how you take it (additives reduce efficiency), and whether you have diabetes or pre-diabetes (results in a spike in glucose and insulin resistance). As such, you need to consult your doctor on your options about exercise and diet before increasing your coffee consumption. In any case, you should also speak with your doctor before mixing coffee and diabetes.