How can coffee help reduce diabetes risk?

Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
There's a study touting these results: 4 cups of Joe a day keeps diabetes away.

Could 4 cups of Joe a day ever be healthy, or even help prevent diabetes? Here's what I've got to say:

1. If one exchanged plain coffee for caffeinated sodas -- this would be a nutritional upgrade that could help prevent diabetes.

2. If, however, one decided to have cream and sugar or even fat-free milk and artificial sugar or a no-sugar added powder or a non-dairy creamer with partially hydrogenated oil in their coffee… then they would lose in terms of diabetes risk.

3. If one was drinking 8 cups of coffee a day or 6 cups and 2 Red Bulls, and traded down to 4 cups a day, then I could see how this nutrition upgrade could help prevent diabetes.

4. If one was drinking 16-24 ounces daily of juice, "vitamin" waters, and sugar-based teas, and exchanged these for 4 cups of coffee one could see reduction in their risk of diabetes.

5. If one was eating "energy" bars with greater than 10 grams of sugar, less than 5 grams of protein, and which contained artificial ingredients daily or several times daily, and exchanged it for a cup of coffee and an apple with some peanut butter, then perhaps the coffee could help to reduce diabetes risk.

6. If, however, one consumed 4 cups of coffee in lieu of eating nutrient balanced eating occasions during the day and then "backloaded" with calories at night, then one surely did not help prevent the onset of diabetes.

7. If one added spices to coffee like cinnamon, clove, and cardamom then one would likely feel the benefit of digestive aids as well as hormonal ones that could help protect the body against diabetes and other diseases.

9. If one consumed only organic coffee -- so that no additional chemicals enter our system -- then one will help reduce the toxic burden in the body which could be linked to a lower risk of obesity and disease, including diabetes.

10. If when consuming coffee, one doesn't get any jitters and it allows one to function daily as well as get in routine exercise and go to sleep at a reasonable hour (before midnight) with 6-8 hours of sleep then the coffee consumption might not be an issue.

11. If, however, one has one 24-hour day where coffee wasn't available and one can't function; one scours the cupboards for sugar to get a "lift" or to identify replacement sources of caffeine. Then one's body is telling them that it is likely addicted to caffeine and should consider reducing or eliminating intake.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

One-third of Americans are pre-diabetic or have some form of diabetes. Many studies have shown that coffee can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar. Liver function and cholesterol can also improve with coffee consumption. For maximum benefit, drink 4 8-ounce cups a day, which translates to 2 large takeout coffees. Note: both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are effective.

Dr. Oz’s Prevention Power Pack:

Research shows that coffee might decrease the risk of developing diabetes by about 25 percent. But watch the sugar. Here's why: People who add sugar to coffee or tea don't get the protective blood sugar effect, and they may run a higher risk of developing cancer of the pancreas.

Coffee isn't for everyone. If you're sensitive to caffeine's effects, you may want to avoid it. And even if you aren't, it's best to limit yourself to about 250 milligrams of caffeine a day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.