Coffee Consumption and Diabetes Linked

November 30, 2004

A study by researchers at Duke Medical Center has found a strong correlation between caffeine intake at mealtime and increased glucose and insulin levels among people with type-2 diabetes.

Although the participant pool was relatively small, the researchers believe their findings are significant enough to suggest that diabetics who regularly enjoy caffeinated beverages and are struggling to maintain their glucose levels should consider reducing or eliminating caffeine in their diets.

"In a healthy person, glucose is metabolized within an hour or so after eating. Diabetics, however, do not metabolize glucose as efficiently," says James D. Lane, associate research professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and lead author of the study. "It appears that diabetics who consume caffeine are likely having a harder time regulating their insulin and glucose levels than those who don't take caffeine." His team's findings appeared in the August 2004 issue of Diabetes Care.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled fourteen habitual coffee drinkers who had at least a six-month history of type-2 diabetes but who did not require insulin therapy as part of their treatment regimen.

"The goal of clinical treatment for diabetes is to keep the person's blood glucose down," Lane says. "It seems that caffeine, by further impairing the metabolism of meals, is something diabetics ought to consider avoiding. Some people already watch their diet and exercise regularly. Avoiding caffeine might be another way to better manage their disease. In fact, it's possible that staying away from caffeine could provide bigger benefits altogether."