The inverse relationship between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes does not depend on race, gender, geographic distribution or caffeine
Fausta Natella and Cristina Scaccini, from the Italian National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition, reviewed epidemiological studies, looking at the relationship between coffee consumption and risk of diabetes, published over the last 40 years. Collectively, they indicate a strong and clear inverse association between coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, independent of subjects’ race, gender, geographical location or the type of coffee they drink. Since both regular caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption appears to be protective the effect is unlikely to be due to the caffeine. This review does sum up potential biomarkers, including proinflammatory cytokine (IL-18), C-reactive protein and adiponectin, though confirms that, as yet, no mechanisms of action have been elucidated.
The review also examines the impact of the pattern of coffee consumption e.g. black coffee after lunch, and evaluates the possible relationship between coffee consumption and other risk factors associated with diabetes, including insulin sensitivity and impaired glucose tolerance. It also explores the possible role of coffee on the progression of the disease, and whether it might also affect the risk of other forms of diabetes – type 1 and gestational diabetes.
Natella and Scaccini conclude: “The studies conducted so far provide a clear indication that healthy, habitual coffee drinkers are more protected from the risk of contracting diabetes than individuals who do not drink coffee. However, the influence of coffee consumption on diabetes should always be studied within the context of healthy eating habits and lifestyle. The best way to prevent diabetes remains to combat overweight and obesity, and ensure adequate levels of physical activity.”
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Natella F & Scaccini C (2012). Role of coffee in modulation of diabetes risk. Nutrition Reviews; 70(4):207-217.