(NaturalNews) People who drink three to four cups of coffee each day have a lower risk of developing Type II diabetes, according to a research summary published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC). The report summarizes the key findings of recent research into the connection between coffee consumption and diabetes risk, as presented at a session of the 2012 World Congress on Prevention of Diabetes and Its Complications (WCPD).
The report emphasizes an epidemiological study that found a 25 percent lower risk of developing Type II diabetes among people who drank three or four cups of coffee per day, when compared with people who drank fewer than two cups per day. It also notes another epidemiological study, which found a seven to eight percent decrease in the relative risk of developing Type II diabetes for every additional cup of coffee per day that a person consumed.
Does coffee actually help regulate blood sugar?
Because epidemiological studies are only designed to uncover correlations and cannot speak to whether coffee consumption actually causes the observed reductions in risk, the report also summarizes the findings of clinical intervention trials. In one such trial, researchers tested participants' glucose tolerance and insulin levels both before and after consuming 12 grams of decaffeinated coffee, one gram of chlorogenic acid, 500 mg of trigonelline, and a placebo. They found that early glucose and insulin responses were significantly lower after the consumption of the chemicals chlorogenic acid and trigonelline, both of which are found in coffee.
The report acknowledges that some people may find an association between coffee and reduced diabetes risk counter intuitive, since coffee consumption is often associated with unhealthy habits such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. This is part of the reason that researchers are looking for causative rather than correlative explanations.
Several theories have been proposed for exactly how coffee consumption could lead to healthier blood sugar regulation. The "Energy Expenditure Hypothesis;" for example, proposes that the caffeine in coffee increases the body's energy use and stimulates its metabolism, helping it process sugar better. The "Carbohydrate Metabolic Hypothesis" proposes that certain chemicals found in coffee act directly to affect the body's glucose balance. Some scientists have suggested that these chemicals may improve insulin sensitivity through channels such as hormonal effects, mediation of stress cells, reduction of iron stores and modulation of inflammatory pathways.
The report further notes that moderate coffee consumption is actually correlated with a lower risk of heart failure, and is not associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. According to some studies, it may even lengthen life.
"A dose-dependent inverse association between coffee drinking and total mortality has been demonstrated in general population and it persists among diabetics," writes report author Pilar Riobo Servan of the Jimenez Diaz-Capio Hospital of Madrid, Spain.
"Although more research on the effect of coffee in health is yet needed, current information suggests that coffee is not as bad as previously considered!"