Coffee and Diabetes: The Surprising Good News For Diabetics

Kim LaCapria

One of the downsides of diabetes- aside from the serious complications, of course- is the introduction of dietary restrictions for people who may not have ever had to monitor their food intake officially- alcohol, sugar and carbohydrates can affect the condition, but what about coffee?

Americans in particular have a strange, nearly masochistic relationship with coffee- the comedian Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out that we so revere the beverage that we call the machine that makes it “Mister.” And indeed, coffee is one of the first things to come under fire when we tend to review our waistlines, our budgets, our heart health- it seems that being such a pleasure, it has to be suspect.

It turns out, we’ve known for a while that a certain level of coffee consumption reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to 50% when coffee consumption is four or more cups a day. For each additional cup of coffee consumed, risk drops another 7%. But a recent study by Chinese researchers published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry examines why coffee drinkers can cut their diabetes risk so sharply, and the study found certain compounds in coffee inhibit hIAPP (human islet amyloid polypeptide), which is tied to an increase in diabetes risk.

Researchers concluded that if you enjoy coffee, you should drink up- although it’s probably not a great idea to drink frappuccinos all day if you’re worried about diabeted. The study says:

“These findings suggest that the beneficial effects of coffee consumption on type 2 diabetes may be partly due to the ability of major coffee components to inhibit the toxic aggression of hIAPP. A beneficial effect may thus be expected in regular coffee drinkers.”

Are you a major coffee swiller?