5 Cups of Coffee a Day for Type 2 Diabetes?
By Steve McDermott on January 10th, 2017
(Steve McDermott is a person with type 2 diabetes who wrote this article for Diabetes Daily).
“Coffee is one thing that we all love but can’t really decide if it’s good for us or not. Research in the past has shown that coffee and diabetes don’t go well together.
5 cups is good? If WHO says so, there might be something to it. Right?
However, new research, funded by American Diabetes Association (ADA), indicates that coffee is good for:
• Cardiovascular diseases(myocardial infarction, high cholesterol…)
• Cancer (prostate, breast…)
• Parkinsons disease
• …And type 2 diabetes!
According to the research conducted by Marilyn Cornelis, PhD, from NFU School of Medicine:
(Of all the foods we consume) coffee has the most potential to prevent type 2 diabetes. (Source: Diabetes Forecast)
What is more, WHO has released guidelines for dietary recommendation for Americans for 2015-2020, in which they state that 3-5 cups of coffee is associated with health benefits (including for type 2 diabetes).
Seems like both the latest research and even WHO is pro-coffee. I know I’m pro-coffee myself, being an avid coffee drinker and I think it’s great I’m doing something good for myself by having a cup of coffee a day! Let alone 5 cups!
You can download the WHO statement here, I’ve copied the section about coffee for you here (be aware what is says about how much sugar and milk you should add to coffee):
Coffee and Diabetes – An Age Old Question
When talking about coffee and diabetes, we’ve been talking a lot about caffeine and diabetes – which is not the same as ‘coffee and diabetes.’ Why? Because coffee is not just caffeine.
Who doesn’t love a cup of coffee?
The latest study by Dr. Cornelis has revealed that coffee is good for diabetic patients because of hundreds of other ingredients in coffee. Some of them have strong antioxidant properties; and this may very well be the reason why coffee is good for not only type 2 diabetes, but for cardiovascular diseases and Parkinson’s, for example.
So when we talk about coffee, we really should be talking about caffeine and other ingredients.
This can be summed up in the following paradox:
1. Caffeine (in coffee) increases blood glucose. More coffee drinkers should have diabetes, right? Well…
2. People who drink a lot of coffee have a lower risk for diabetes. Source: WebMD.
In short, caffeine is bad for diabetes. But those other things in coffee are good for diabetes! We can’t judge coffee just based on caffeine.
Caffeine and Type 2 Diabetes – The Bad Side of Coffee
How much caffeine is in your coffee?
There is one very obvious problem with coffee as far as diabetes is concerned, and it’s this:
Caffeine (in coffee) increases blood sugar levels.
A study by James D. Lane, PhD, from Duke University found out that drinking several cups of coffee per day can increase BG by 8%.
For people with diabetes, drinking coffee or consuming caffeine in other beverages may make it harder for them to control their glucose. (James D. Lane, PhD)
To give you an example how much this 8% means – If your blood glucose is 150 mg/ml, it can be 162 mg/ml if you drink 4 cups of coffee per day.
What is more, if you read the statement by WHO about coffee consumption, they state that 400 mg/day of caffeine is still allowed (that’s up to 5 cups of coffee per day).
So there is a limit on caffeine consumption. The reason is pretty obvious – numerous studies like the one from Duke University on caffeine and diabetes has shown that caffeine does raise blood sugar. For diabetes patients, that’s bad news.
But as we’ve talked about earlier, coffee is not just caffeine.
Other Coffee Ingredients and Diabetes – The Good Side of Coffee
Coffee is quite a complex mixture of substances. The red coffee berries are grown from Brazil to Kenya. When picked, they’re roasted to taste. The roasting process produces hundreds of different ingredients that give coffee its genuine taste.
These hundreds of ingredients of coffee don’t only influence taste; they also influence us when digested. More specifically, they influence our health – it is believed that many of coffee’s ingredients are good antioxidants which help with cardiovascular diseases.
Do you know why dark chocolate can be healthy? Some people would argue that ‘of course chocolate can’t be healthy, it will only make you fat with all those sugars’. Yes, that is true, sugars in chocolate can make you fat, but there is another side to chocolate as well – chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and the darker it is, the more antioxidants it has.
The same as chocolate, coffee has a bad side (caffeine) and a good side (other ingredients) as well.
There’s an easy solution to which is the healthiest coffee to drink for diabetes – it’s decaf, of course.
You get all the health benefits of hundreds of coffee ingredients and none of the bad sugar elevating problems of caffeine, right?
For me, a decaf is a no-no. I have a passion for coffee and coffee without caffeine is like, well, coffee without caffeine. I don’t know what it would take for me to stop drinking coffee, but quite frankly, type 2 diabetes is not it.
Nonetheless, if anybody drinks coffee just for the good taste, I would highly recommend switching to decaf. According to the latest research, it can be said that will only do you good if you have type 2 diabetes.
Research Focused on Other Coffee Ingredients and Their Benefits
The research conducted by Dr. Cornelis will focus on the ingredients that coffee in made out of. She hopes that be studying habits of people who drink a lot of coffee, she will be able to finally answer whether coffee (with caffeine) is good for diabetes patients.
And where to get people who drink a lot of coffee?
Dr.. Cornelis turned to Finland – there the national average is 2.6 cups of coffee per day. Among other things, she is looking into a research where one group will drink 0 coffees per day and the other 8 coffees per day.
Even before the results of this study are in, one can have a good feeling that drinking coffee is not as bad as we once thought. Why? Because both WHO and FDA recent guidelines suggest that drinking coffee is not bad at all – it is good!
Where Did They Got ‘5 Cups of Coffee Per Day’?
This was the first time I heard that something like 5 cups of coffee per day can be good for health. I drink about 3 cups per day, and even I thought I was going over the limit.
5 cups of coffee per day goes back to the World Health Organization’s statement where they specify that it is ok to drink 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day, as long as you don’t drink more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.
Of course, a single cup of coffee can have different amounts of caffeine (espresso has less than brewed cup of coffee, for example), but a rough average would be 100 mg of caffeine per cup of coffee.
This would yield 4 cups, each with 100 mg of caffeine, per day. That would hit a 400 mg limit.
Of course, people don’t only drink black coffee. So how do you take it?
With sugar, creme or milk? Therein might lie a problem (and you’re probably aware of it). All this sugar and milk can add quite a bit of sugar in your coffee (and your veins). If you have type 2 diabetes, you’re more than aware now that you have to stay away from bigger sugary things. But hey, it’s just coffee, right?
Well, not always. I have a friend who always drink his coffee with two sugars, creme but NO milk. He seems very proud of not adding milk but with the sugar and creme alone he is, in my humble opinion, drinking more a milkshake than coffee.
Always be aware that sugar in coffee can add up. Starbucks coffee, for example, can easily exceed 500 calories. If you drink 4 of those per day, your doctor won’t be very happy with that. And you know doctor can always find out what were your glucose levels with A1c parameter – this is measured in the blood, not in the urine (I just mention this because someone asked me if I would recommend synthetic urine to fake blood glucose levels to a doctor? No, just no.)”
End of Mr. McDermott’s article.
COMMENT TO THIS ARTICLE BY DIANE KRESS, RD CDE
Drinking 5 cups of coffee (or a maximum of 400mg caffeine/day) cannot prevent type 2 diabetes. Is the ADA and WHO saying that 400mg of caffeine/day helps prevent type 2 diabetes? Or are they saying that antioxidants in coffee can prevent diabetes? I strongly disagree with any way they spin this “story.”
If caffeine is preventive for type 2 diabetes, don’t waste your money and time on coffee….just pop 1-200mg caffeine tablet in the AM and another in the early afternoon. Very inexpensive and easy to do anywhere.
Wait a minute….the antioxidants in coffee help in type 2 diabetes “prevention”…not caffeine? Then drink decaffeinated coffee and don’t worry about possible increases in blood pressure, blood glucose, or heart palpitations and increased chance of dehydration that 400mg of caffeine can cause!
The way to prevent type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes has a gradual onset. It is caused by a combination of GENES and CHRONIC LIFE STRESSORS such as emotional stress, physical pain, under-exercising, overweight, and certain medications. Not everyone has the potential to develop type 2 diabetes!
A person with the genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes may undergo physical and emotional distress but NEVER develop type 2 diabetes. A person with the genes for type 2 diabetes can gradually progress to type 2 diabetes from long term physical and emotional stress. Exactly how can caffeine or coffee help to prevent this??
At the core of type 2 diabetes is the genetic propensity to a hormonal imbalance of the FAT GAIN HORMONE: INSULIN. Not everyone can over- produce insulin. Those with the genes for type 2 diabetes can eventually begin to overproduce insulin. . Too much insulin will cause fat gain on the body (belly fat, love handles, back fat) as well as in the blood (cholesterol and triglycerides) and in the liver.
Those who are in line for type 2 diabetes need to work to decrease the potential for insulin imbalance with the right diet and regular physical activity. Most will also benefit from the use of Metformin (aka Glucophage™).
Read about a program that was developed to stop the progression to type 2 diabetes and can also control diabetes for those who have moved to the “end of the line” of insulin imbalance and have developed type 2 diabetes… http://www.themetabolismmiracle.com.
This is not an advertisement or promotion. It is merely providing valid and accurate information to those who are struggling with overweight, weight-related health issues, focus/concentration, and energy levels and truly want to prevent or control type 2 diabetes.
I wonder how much “coffee stock” administrators at The American Diabetes Association and World Health Association own for them to make such a crazy proclamation…..5 cups of coffee/day to prevent type 2 diabetes. Shame on you.