Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have completed a study showing that increased coffee intake could cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Boston group’s findings also suggest that changing consumptions patterns can quickly alter risk.
This research adds one more potential item to the list of health benefits derived from drinking coffee, according to Medical News Today. Recent studies have linked drinking the beverage to lowering the risk of dying from cirrhosis, as well as cancer of the liver and cancer of the womb.
Patients with type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin properly, a condition known as insulin resistance, the American Diabetes Association says. To compensate, the pancreas manufactures extra insulin. Eventually, the organ can’t keep pace with the amount of the hormone needed to maintain a normal blood glucose level. The result is type 2 diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 26 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and another 79 million adults are pre-diabetic. Between 90 and 95 percent of cases are type 2 diabetes.
The Boston scientists published their results in the journal Diabetologia. They analyzed data from three sets of subjects: 48,464 women the 1986-2006 Nurses’ Health Study based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 47,510 female patients in phase 2 of the study (1991-2007), and 27,759 male patients in the 1986-2006 Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Analyzing patients’ diets involved evaluating questionnaires every four years. The 7,269 subjects with type 2 diabetes filled out additional questionnaires.
Participants who upped coffee consumption by more than a cup a day over four years experienced a type 2 diabetes risk that was 11 percent lower over the next four years when compared to subjects whose intake remained the same. Among those who lowered their daily intake by more than a cup, the risk rose 17 percent. The definition of a cup of coffee was 8 ounces of the beverage, either black or containing a small amount of sugar or milk.
The researchers have concluded that their findings add new evidence that changes in patterns of consuming coffee can affect an individual’s risk for developing the illness in a fairly short period and that for most individuals, coffee could have certain health benefits. They caution, however, that other factors such as weight and physical activity also influence the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Vonda J. Sines has published thousands of print and online health and medical articles. She specializes in diseases and other conditions that affect the quality of life.