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

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

Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved

Daily Cinnamon Use for Diabetes Control

Daily Cinnamon Use for Diabetes Control

Can cinnamon help manage type II diabetes?

Written by Emily Creasy, MS, RD, LD, (Nutrition Remarks writer), Reviewed by Dr. Paul Crawford M.D., and Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D.

Health News Highlights (March 05, 2012) <<< Print PDF>>>

When used in conjunction with regular diabetes treatment therapy, daily cinnamon supplementation may help to lower blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels in those with type II diabetes.

Type II diabetes is a lifelong disease characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood due to low levels of insulin secretion from pancreas and/or inefficient insulin action (Insulin Resistance). Glucose is a form of sugar that is used by the cells in the body to produce energy we need for functioning. Type II diabetes may also be referred to as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes. In the body, insulin works to move and deposit glucose into cells so that it can be used for energy. For those with type II diabetes, cells (especially fat, liver, and muscle cells) do not respond correctly to insulin and do not let glucose in. This causes glucose to build up in the blood, also known as hyperglycemia/high blood glucose. If not controlled, over time this can lead to unwanted health complications including nerve damage, infections (specifically bladder, kidney and skin infections) and an increased risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death and disability among people with type II diabetes.

A study by Dr. Alam Khan and colleagues at the Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Pakistan, showed that daily cinnamon supplementation helped to lower blood glucose levels up to 29 percent, regardless of the amount of cinnamon consumed each day. Cinnamon supplementation was also shown to decrease triglyceride levels in the blood 23 to 30 percent and cholesterol levels up to 26 percent, with greater decreases noted in those consuming higher amounts of cinnamon each day. In comparison, no changes in blood glucose or triglyceride levels were seen in placebo/control groups.

It is important to note that results may vary based on age, weight, and level of compliance to both the supplementation regimen and overall diabetes treatment. The effects of cinnamon supplementation are not permanent and can be reversed once supplementation is stopped. A study by Dr. Solomon and Dr. Blannin at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, found that, after two weeks of cinnamon supplementation, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity was improved. However, once supplementation was stopped, results were quickly reversed.

A simple test celled hemoglobin A1c (HbA1C) can be used to help determine an individual’s compliance to diabetes treatment, effectiveness of diabetes treatment, and overall blood glucose management over a 2-3 month period. An exciting study from Dr Paul Crawford and colleagues showed that daily cinnamon supplementation can help to decrease HbA1C levels. It is recommended that HbA1C levels be checked two to three times per year and it is NOT to be used as a replacement for daily blood glucose monitoring. The American Diabetes Association recommends that those with diabetes should try to keep their HbA1C level at or below 7%. In his study, Dr. Crawford randomly divided 109 individuals with type II diabetes into two groups. One group was instructed to consume one gram of cinnamon every day for 90 days in addition to their usual diabetes regimen. The other group continued their usual diabetes management routine with no changes. After 90 days, those taking cinnamon capsules experienced a decrease in HbA1C of 0.83%. The average starting HbA1C of 8.47% was decreased to 7.64% simply by consuming cinnamon each day. In comparison, the control group, which received no cinnamon, showed an HbA1C decrease of only 0.37%.

Diabetes treatment and management requires a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, regular physical activity, adherence to medication treatments as applicable and continued blood glucose monitoring. Daily consumption of cinnamon may help to boost diabetes treatment efforts over time. Successful control of diabetes can also help to reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes related complications including kidney disease, eye, skin, and foot problems. Because excessive intake of cinnamon may lead to skin irritation, blood thinning, liver and kidney injury, consult a physician prior to adding cinnamon to your diet to help determine a dose that is appropriate for you and your specific needs.


Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. December 2003.

Roussel AM, Hininger I, Benaraba R, Ziegenfuss TN, Anderson RA. Antioxidant effects of a cinnamon extract in people with impaired fasting glucose that are overweight or obese. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. February 2009.

Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. September 2009.

Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology. April 2009.

American Diabetes Association. Living with Diabetes: A1C.

American Diabetes Association. American Diabetes Association’s New Clinical Practice Recommendations Promote A1C as Diagnostic Test for Diabetes. December 2009.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed Health. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia: Type 2 Diabetes.

American Heart Association. Why Diabetes Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved