October 2006: People who drink coffee, including those who used to drink it but quit, are less likely to get type 2 diabetes than those who never drank it, according to a study by researchers at the University of California in San Diego.
This should come as welcome news to Americans, more than half of whom drink a cup of joe or more on a daily basis. Previous studies have presented contradictory evidence regarding a protective benefit for coffee, but this new research confirms a "striking" reduction in risk, including, for the first time, for people who already exhibit impaired glucose tolerance.
Numerous studies have been done examining the role that caffeine may play in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes. One study actually found that drinking caffeinated coffee raised glucose concentrations, but subsequent studies found those levels fell 30 minutes after coffee consumption.
Studies in laboratory animals revealed that caffeine stimulates the body's metabolism and may induce a mechanism that helps to reduce obesity, which is also strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. Other research suggests that a reduction in risk for diabetes may be due to compounds in coffee other than caffeine.
Unlike previous studies, this study included people who were already at risk for diabetes due to impaired glucose tolerance. It found that even among those individuals, the ones who were past or present coffee drinkers were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never drank coffee. Drinking caffeinated coffee reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 60 percent.