Coffee Reduces Diabetes Risk

Coffee Reduces Diabetes Risk

Coffee and type II diabetes (T2D)

Frontier Voice of Nutrition Remarks (June 11, 2012) <<<Print PDF>>>

NalinSiriwardhana, Ph.D., interviewed Dr. Fausta Natella, Ph.D., from the National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition, in Rome.

Now it is clear that coffee can help to reduce the type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk. Dr. Fausta Natella, Ph.D., and Dr. Cristina Scaccini Ph.D., performed an in depth analysis on available scientific information on coffee and its effect on diabetes risk. Their analysis showed that coffee may reduce the T2D risk regardless of race, gender, geographic distribution, or the type of coffee consumed (i.e., caffeinated or decaffeinated). Further, these experts suggest that moderate coffee drinking (3-4 cups a day) will be sufficient to be benefitted against T2D.

Nutrition Remarks interviewed Dr. Fausta Natella, Ph.D., who performed this analysis in collaboration with Dr. Cristina Scaccini Ph.D.

Question from Nutrition Remarks: What is the role of coffee in T2D and are there any effect on type I diabetes (T1D) as well?

Answer from Dr. Natella: Several epidemiological evidences indicate that there is an inverse association between coffee consumption and risk of T2D. It means the higher is the consumption the lower is the risk to develop this disease. On the contrary, no effect of coffee consumption on T1D has been observed. It is however worth to mention that the etiology of the T2D and T1D is very different so that the conclusions obtained from studies on T2D cannot be extrapolated to T1D.

Question: In general, how many coffees a day is known to improve diabetes health effects?

Answer: The inverse association between coffee consumption and T2D risk is dose-dependent. The last published scientific analysis (meta-analysis by Huxley in 2009) shows about 7% reduction of the risk per cup of coffee consumed per day. Though it has beneficial effect on T2D, we cannot recommend increasing the coffee consumption as a strategy for the prevention of diabetes as a high consumption of coffee can also have some negative effects on health (e.g. increasing pressure and cholesterol level, causing anxiety and sleeplessness in susceptible individuals). Hence, we suggest a moderate coffee consumption not exceeding 3-4 cups per day.

Question: In general, the effects of coffee are preventive or therapeutic or both?

Answer: The effects of coffee are only preventive. The few and contrasting data on the possible effects of coffee consumption on diabetic patients do not allow us to draw any definitive conclusion; we can only state that a moderate coffee consumption does not seem to be contraindicated in diabetics.

Question: What are the most effective bioactive compounds in the coffee that can prevent T2D?

Answer: Generally, the effects of coffee on health are related to caffeine that owns several “pharmacological” effects on human body, mainly at the level of the central nervous system. However, coffee contains several other bioactive molecules (over 1000 chemicals have been identified in roasted coffee). Among them polyphenolic compounds are the most abundant and may play a significant role in protecting our body from T2D.

Question: What is the role of coffee polyphenols in reducing T2D?

Answer: Many different mechanisms have been proposed to explain how coffee-phenolic compounds exert their action. However, at the moment, there is no conclusive scientific consent about them, and it is not possible to define exact mechanisms.

Question: What is your opinion on proper time gaps between meal and coffee? Should there be a time gap?

Answer: According to a recent epidemiological study published by Sartorelli and colleagues in 2011, the anti-diabetic effect of coffee is not only related to frequency and amount of coffee consumption, but is also related to the modality of the consumption. In particular, one study has shown that the consumption of coffee after lunch further reduces the risk of contracting this disease. It is however important to stress that only one evidence is not sufficient to draw any definitive scientific conclusion. Thus, to give any suggestion, further researches are needed to confirm this hypothesis.

Question: Does decaffeinated coffee have same or different effects compared to regular coffee?

Answer: Epidemiological studies indicate that the association between coffee consumption and T2D is valid also for decaffeinated coffee. That’s why we think that the anti-diabetes role of coffee is not only due to caffeine, but also due to other bioactive compounds in the coffee.

Question: Is there any evidence to suggest that espresso have more pronounced effects than regular coffee? Also, does it make any difference when adding sugar, cream and milk into coffee?

Answer: No, the capacity of coffee to decrease D2T risk seems to be the same whatever is the coffee (brand, blend, amount of powder used for preparation, etc). Also the use of milk, cream, sugar and/or other sweeteners does not seem to drastically reduce the beneficial effect of coffee.

Question: What are the other significant health benefits of coffee other than reducing the diabetes risk?

Answer: Coffee consumption has also been correlated with the reduced risk of colon cancer and neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer and Parkinson).

However, it is really important to keep in mind that we can not recommend a high consumption of coffee as it has some negative effect on our health (e.g. increasing pressure and cholesterol level, causing anxiety and sleeplessness in susceptible individuals).

Question: What other important information we did not discuss here?

Answer: We should never forget that foods/beverages are not drugs, and that foods/beverages are not good or bad in themselves; it is only the diet as a whole (and lifestyle) that may be good or bad. The influence of coffee consumption on diabetes should always be set into healthy eating and lifestyle practices. We have to remember that coffee may help, but diabetes has to be prevented in first place by controlling overweight and obesity and by increasing physical activity.

This news release was based on the original scientific article published by Drs. Natella and Scaccini in the Nutrition Reviews journal. Additional general background information was acquired from PubMed and NIH sources.

Original work; Natella et al., (2012) Role of coffee in modulation of diabetes risk . Nutrition Reviews 70:4 207-217

Dr. Fausta Natella, Ph.D., is a researcher at the National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition, Rome (Italy). Her research activities focus on the study of the effects of diet, foods, isolated nutrients, non-nutrients, and their metabolites on human health.

Dr. Cristina Scaccini, Ph.D., is a senior scientist at the National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition (INRAN),Rome, and is Principal Investigator of the research team “Bioavailability, metabolism and biological effects of dietary bioactive molecules”.

More about Dr. Natella work

http://www.inran.it/586/fausta_natella.html

Written by Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D. and Shambhunath Choudhary, DVM Ph.D

Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved