Many people feel drinking coffee–like drinking alcohol–is a guilty pleasure. Or even a vice. Well–it’s again time to shed the guilt and the myths and look at the science.
A new study shows men and women who drink moderate amounts of coffee run a significantly lower risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Plus, as I explained earlier this month, conclusive evidence shows drinking coffee actually benefits the brain, over the short- and long-terms. Coffee also helps detoxify the body and acts as an old-fashioned “tonic.” It also helps support the cardiovascular system. And lastly, coffee is full of antioxidants that have the same anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties as green tea, the darling of the natural health world, but apparently at much higher levels.
In the new study, researchers followed 1,300 men and women in Athens, Greece, for 10 years.
You might imagine that Greece was a good location to pick for the study. It seems much of the population and their socialist bureaucrat leaders sit around all day drinking coffee, contemplating how their little nation of 17 million people can single-handedly keep bringing down the EU and world economy through their apparent aversion to work and affinity for excessive debt.
The participants in the study provided the researchers with dietary information, including their coffee-drinking habits. The researchers classified anyone who drank fewer than 1.5 cups of coffee a day a “casual” coffee drinker. “Habitual” drinkers drank more than 1.5 cups per day. In the study, there were 816 casual drinkers, 385 habitual drinkers, and 239 non-drinkers.
After 10 years, 191 people had developed Type II diabetes. (Thirteen percent of men and 12 percent of women among the original groups.)
Overall, habitual coffee drinkers were 54 percent less likely to develop Type II diabetes compared to non-drinkers. That strong association held up even after the researchers accounted for smoking, high blood pressure, family history, and total caffeine intake. Researchers also found coffee-drinkers had lower levels of inflammation.
How does coffee do it?
Many researchers–especially those who always want to find the single “magic bullet” ingredient–believe the caffeine in a cup of coffee may increase a hormone called adiponectin. This hormone affects insulin and blood sugar levels. Although, as usual, this explanation doesn’t tell it all. A natural compound like coffee has many different physiologic activities. So I don’t tip my cup to any one particular theory of just how it works.
But coffee does work, despite all the attempts to discredit it. And that’s what really matters.
- “The evaluation of inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers on coffee–diabetes association: results from the 10-year follow-up of the ATTICA Study (2002–2012),” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 7/1/2015