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Coffee and Diabetes

What, if any, connection is there, and is it a cause for celebration or sorrow?

Over the years, there has been an array of research on coffee, causing people to drink it by the gallon one day and dread it the next. From time to time, the research has direct implications for those with diabetes. So where does the research fall for those with insulin issues?
Read on to find out.

A Protective Cup

In 2004 and late 2006, some very exciting research hit the coffee bean pipeline, as researchers explained that an individual’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes is dramatically reduced if the individual drinks coffee. One of the studies claimed coffee consumption offered a 30 percent reduction in diabetes risk, while the other put the reduced risk at closer to 60 percent.

As an added perk, the reduced risk for diabetes didn’t just hold true for those in tip-top shape. Research shows that individuals with other risk factors for diabetes curb their chance of getting diabetes by indulging in a daily cup or two of coffee. Oddly enough, the reduced risk of diabetes associated with coffee stands up whether the individual is currently a coffee drinker or has given up the habit in the past.

Almost all my middle-aged and elderly acquaintances, including me, feel about 25, unless we haven’t had our coffee, in which case we feel 107.
- Martha Beck

Danger in Hand

As beneficial as coffee may be in warding off diabetes, it may not be as useful to those already living with diabetes. It may actually be harmful. Additional research is still needed to determine whether or not coffee should be consumed by individuals with diabetes, but initial research seems to say no.

The danger is not so much in the coffee beans or the flavor, but rather the caffeine. Studies have shown that increased caffeine intake seems to increase blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for individuals with diabetes. At the same time, it is unclear whether decaffeinated coffee is a safe and even beneficial drink for those with diabetes, as it contains useful nutrients that can improve anyone’s health.

Weighing the Drink

Since coffee seems to reap incredible protection against diabetes even for people with other diabetes risk factors, drinking it frequently may be just what you need to keep yourself from following a family tradition of becoming diabetic. However, if you currently have diabetes, you will need to check with your physician before drinking coffee, whether it is caffeinated or not.

If coffee really is this important in the world of diabetes, who knows what benefits its proper use could reap? Experts estimate that diabetes prevalence will increase by an amazing 65 percent in less than 20 years, but if coffee and smart coffee drinkers have anything to do with it, that may not come true.

Proven Prevention

Want to fight off diabetes, but don’t want to indulge in a couple of cups of coffee every day? No problem! A number of other foods and drinks will help you cut down your risk for diabetes, and none of them come with coffee breath.

Foods and drinks that will help you avoid diabetes include the following:

  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator rather than the counter or outdoors.
  • whole-grain cereals and breads
  • bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, and other fruits
  • low-fat yogurt
  • cheese
  • lean beef, poultry, and fish
  • water

In addition to eating right, avoiding diabetes requires you to stay in good shape by getting regular physical activity. A good goal if you’re just getting started is 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a day. As you grow stronger, try to work out more frequently and for longer periods to build up an even stronger resistance against diabetes.

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