Coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes – Part 1

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This is the first of three blog posts on the topic of coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes, concentrating on the scale of the issue and how type 2 diabetes functions. Coffee and Health also houses current scientific information on a wide range of other coffee-related topics.


Recent scientific evidence links moderate coffee consumption with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The association has been found in several different populations and shows a consistent dose response, i.e. lower risk at higher consumption levels.

That said, the mechanisms underlying this association between moderate coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes still need further investigation.

The scale of the issue

More than 370 million people worldwide have diabetes. In 2012, 4.8 million people died and $471 billion were spent as a result of diabetes.  The WHO predicts that deaths caused by diabetes will increase by two thirds between 2008 and 2030.

In Europe the prevalence of diabetes amounts to 6.7% or 55 million sufferers. Of this, 38.6% of cases remain undiagnosed, which means that 21.2 million Europeans are unaware that they have diabetes. It is predicted that by 2030 the number of people with diabetes in the EU will rise to 64 million.

A role for diet and lifestyle

Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes or maturity onset diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose together with insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. The target tissues for insulin including muscle, liver and fat-tissue become insensitive or resistant to the action of insulin. This means that more insulin is needed to obtain the same response from the target tissues.

Type 2 diabetes is primarily influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking.

For more information on coffee and type 2 diabetes, and to view reference material, click here.

Presentations from experts present at the World Congress on Prevention of Diabetes and Its Complications (WCPD) can also be viewed here.

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