Coffee and Reduced Diabetes Risk

Byron's Comments:

Good news for coffee drinkers.

Study Title:

Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Tea Consumption in Relation to Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis.

Study Abstract:

Background Coffee consumption has been reported to be inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Similar associations have also been reported for decaffeinated coffee and tea. We report herein the findings of meta-analyses for the association between coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption with risk of diabetes.

Methods Relevant studies were identified through search engines using a combined text word and MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) search strategy. Prospective studies that reported an estimate of the association between coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or tea with incident diabetes between 1966 and July 2009.

Results Data from 18 studies with information on 457 922 participants reported on the association between coffee consumption and diabetes. Six (N = 225 516) and 7 studies (N = 286 701) also reported estimates of the association between decaffeinated coffee and tea with diabetes, respectively. We found an inverse log-linear relationship between coffee consumption and subsequent risk of diabetes such that every additional cup of coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 7% reduction in the excess risk of diabetes relative risk, 0.93 [95% confidence interval, 0.91-0.95]) after adjustment for potential confounders.

Conclusions Owing to the presence of small-study bias, our results may represent an overestimate of the true magnitude of the association. Similar significant and inverse associations were observed with decaffeinated coffee and tea and risk of incident diabetes. High intakes of coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea are associated with reduced risk of diabetes. The putative protective effects of these beverages warrant further investigation in randomized trials.

From press release:

Drinking more coffee (regular or decaffeinated) or tea appears to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis of previous studies reported in the December 14/28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, JAMA.

By the year 2025, approximately 380 million individuals worldwide will be affected by type 2 diabetes.

Despite considerable research attention, the role of specific dietary and lifestyle factors remains uncertain, although obesity and physical inactivity have consistently been reported to raise the risk of diabetes mellitus. A previously published meta-analysis suggested drinking more coffee may be linked with a reduced risk, but the amount of available information has more than doubled since.

Rachel Huxley, D.Phil, of The George Institute for International Health, University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues identified 18 studies involving 457,922 participants and assessing the association between coffee consumption and diabetes risk published between 1966 and 2009.

Six studies involving 225,516 individuals also included information about decaffeinated coffee, whereas seven studies with 286,701 participants reported on tea consumption.

When the authors combined and analyzed the data, they found that each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 7 percent reduction in the excess risk of diabetes.

Individuals who drank three to four cups per day had an approximately 25 percent lower risk than those who drank between zero and two cups per day.

In addition, in the studies that assessed decaffeinated coffee consumption, those who drank more than three to four cups per day had about a one-third lower risk of diabetes than those who drank none. Those who drank more than three to four cups of tea had a one-fifth lower risk than those who drank no tea.

That the apparent protective effect of tea and coffee consumption appears to be independent of a number of potential confounding variables raises the possibility of direct biological effects, the authors write. Because of the association between decaffeinated coffee and diabetes risk, the association is unlikely to be solely related to caffeine. Other compounds in coffee and tea including magnesium, antioxidants known as lignans or chlorogenic acids may be involved, the authors note.

If such beneficial effects were observed in interventional trials to be real, the implications for the millions of individuals who have diabetes mellitus, or who are at future risk of developing it, would be substantial, they conclude. For example, the identification of the active components of these beverages could open up new therapeutic options for the primary prevention of diabetes mellitus. The findings also pose the question of whether patients most at risk for diabetes mellitus may in the future be advised to increase their consumption of tea and coffee in addition to increasing their levels of physical activity.

Spokesperson for the European Society of Cardiology, Professor Lars Rydén (Sweden), who is a diabetes specialist had the following advice: “This is a cautiously and carefully conducted meta-analysis which means authors have carefully conducted studies although each are too small to give an answer to the question although they indicate a positive correlation between the consumption of coffee and a decreasing occurrence of diabetes. So the principle is that if you drink coffee whether it is decaffeinated or not, you have less chance of developing diabetes. The data has been strengthened by bringing several studies together.

There are sometimes claims that coffee may do harm, that it may increase the propensity to Cardiovascular disease, but there is no evidence for this. The message is that people may drink coffee safely. Coffee from this point of view may actually be of benefit, as well as reducing the risk of getting diabetes—although the reduction is small (around 7%).”

However Prof Rydén warns that lifestyle changes far outweigh a regular coffee intake.

“Coffee helps, but other things are even more important. Those who are overweight should reduce their bodyweight by 5-10%—not too much—and include physical activity such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day. Then those people who are at risk of developing diabetes will reduce this risk by 40-50%.

It is interesting to consider why a beverage like coffee has a beneficial effect. It is obviously not the caffeine as decaffeinated coffee has the same efficiency as caffeinated coffee. Coffee may contain antioxidants but the studies have not measured the number of chemicals in the blood which is important.”

Study Information:

1.Rachel Huxley; Crystal Man Ying Lee; Federica Barzi; Leif Timmermeister; Sebastien Czernichow; Vlado Perkovic; Diederick E. Grobbee; David Batty; Mark Woodward.  Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Tea Consumption in Relation to Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med, 2009 December 169 (22): 2053-2063.
The George Institute for International Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.




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