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World Diabetes Day 2020: Is Coffee Good For Diabetics?

14 November is observed as World Diabetes Day which is the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.

The day was initiated in 1991 by the IDF and the World Health Organization as a response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.

The theme of World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month 2020 is The Nurse and Diabetes - where the campaign aims to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes, especially amidst this pandemic.

Coffee is among the most consumed beverages in the world. Its beneficial or harmful effect on severe chronic diseases like diabetes has always been controversial. Some studies say that moderate coffee intake may decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes while some claim coffee to be a health threat for diabetics.

Well, being a complex beverage, coffee is famous for its numerous bioactive compounds such as phenols, vitamins and minerals and its negative aspects are mainly related to its degree of consumption.

In this article, we will discuss coffee and diabetes. Read the article to understand both the benefits and downsides of coffee for diabetics.

Can Coffee Prevent The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes?

According to a study, drinking around 3-4 cups of coffee a day can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes to approximately 25 per cent, compared to people who does not drink or drink less than two cups a day. [1]

Also, people who have increased the coffee consumption by one cup extra had shown 11 per cent decrease on type 2 diabetes risk in four years, while people who had decreased by one cup had shown 17 per cent increased risk of the condition in four years. The decrease in the incidence of diabetes was applicable for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, with just a small difference in the decrease percentage. [2]

Mechanism Of Coffee On Diabetes And Glucose Metabolism

Coffee contains a principle polyphenol called chlorogenic acid (CGA) which has effective antioxidant activity. A study has shown that chlorogenic acid stimulates the transport of glucose in skeletal muscles by activating 5' AMP-activated protein kinase, an enzyme that helps regulate cholesterol, carbohydrate and fatty acid for cellular functions and growth. [3]

The CGA in coffee increases incretins production, a group of hormones that tend to decrease glucose levels in the body. Also, it helps maintain glucose homeostasis in the liver, which is a vital organ in glucose storage. [4]

Effect Of Coffee On Insulin Sensitivity

Chronic inflammation is the main cause of diabetes and insulin resistance. In many observational studies, coffee consumption is linked to the secretion of high levels of anti-inflammatory markers that tend to lower the effect of inflammation and thus, may lower the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance. [5]

Other factors that contribute to a reduction in insulin resistance is its antioxidative effect that depends much on the degree of roasting (for taste, clour and aroma of coffee) and oestrogen receptor activation. Coffee contains many phenolic and non-phenolic compounds like CGA, cafestol and kahweol which are responsible for the antioxidative effect of coffee.

All these properties of coffee help in glucose absorption, management of glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity that explains, why coffee is known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Health Concerns Associated With Coffee Consumption

High coffee consumption may have several downsides. It can cause an increased heart rate as an immediate effect, the reason why health experts advise arrhythmias patients to avoid the intake of caffeinated drinks. [6]

However, some studies also concluded that no additional benefits were found in patients who have limited the intake of coffee. Also, the cases of the increased heartbeat in people were found only around 7 per cent of middle-aged individuals who had no relation with the amount of coffee intake. [7]

Therefore, blaming only coffee for the risk of heart-related mortality is not true as other factors like smoking, age and high cholesterol levels may also contribute to the condition.

Repetitive exposure to caffeine or high coffee consumption is also known to increase the risk of sleeplessness, chronic headache, stillbirth (more than 8 cups of coffee during pregnancy) and anaemia (both maternal and infant) if taken in access by a mother. [5]

To Conclude

Coffee is beneficial for diabetics or tends to reduce the risk of diabetes in people. However, its consumption should be appropriate or limited to prevent its inverse effect on health. Also, one should keep in mind that coffee provides essential benefits when consumed without milk and sugar.

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