So what did you drink for breakfast this morning? Coffee? Tea? How many cups? If you’ve had say, 3 or 4 cups of your favourite brew today, you may actually be protecting yourself from Type 2 diabetes. At least that’s what a team of researchers from University of Sydney in Australia is saying.
The researcher performed a so-called meta-analysis of data from 18 separate clinical studies that involved almost half a million participants. And the results of the analysis showed that people who drink lots of tea or coffee have lower risk for type 2 diabetes. A consumption of 3 to 4 cups of the drinks can reduce your risk by a fifth or even more. Each additional cup cuts the risk by 7%.
So what is in a cup of coffee or tea that gives us protection from diabetes? No, it is not the caffeine that provides the benefits because decaf coffee seems to work best. The researchers believe it might be other compounds that are responsible for the protection. Some of the possible compounds involved are the element magnesium and the antioxidants lignans or chlorogenic acids.
This isn’t the first time that decaf coffee gives positive health outcomes. A 2006 study of 28,000 women reported that consumption of 6 cups of decaf coffee a day translates into a 33% diabetes risk cut compared to no coffee consumption. In recent years, tea is also available in decaf form.
The authors concluded:
“The identification of the active components of these beverages would open up new therapeutic pathways for the primary prevention of diabetes mellitus. 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.”
Now, before you put your kettle to boil, let us slow down a bit. Previous studies on tea and coffee have been linked these beverages to health benefits against cardiovascular disease and cancer, although there are also evidence of harmful effects. More studies are needed to confirm these findings.
According to Dr Victoria King, of Diabetes UK, said:
“Without full information about what other factors may be influencing the type 2 diabetes risk of the studies’ participants – such as their physical activity levels and diet – as well as what the active ingredient in tea or coffee appears to be, we cannot be sure what, if anything, this observed effect is down to… What we can be sure of is that the development of type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle, which means that many cases could be prevented by keeping active and eating a healthy balanced diet that is low in fat, salt and sugar with plenty of fruit and vegetables.”