Tea and coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a large body of evidence shows.
And the protection may not be down to caffeine since decaf coffee has the greatest effect, say researchers in Archives of Internal Medicine. They looked at 18 separate studies involving nearly 500,000 people. This analysis revealed that people who drink three or four cups of coffee or tea a day cut their risk by a fifth or more, say researchers. The same amount of decaffeinated coffee had an even bigger effect, lowering risk by a third.
Type 2 diabetes usually starts after the age of 40 and develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin is often required. If the findings prove true, doctors may well start advising people to put the kettle on as well as take more exercise and watch their weight, say the researchers. When the authors combined and analysed the data, they found that each additional cup of coffee consumed in a day cut diabetes risk by 7%.
Lead researcher Dr Rachel Huxley, from the University of Sydney in Australia, said because of the finding with decaffeinated coffee, the link is unlikely to be solely related to caffeine. Instead, other compounds in coffee and tea - including magnesium and antioxidants known as lignans or chlorogenic acids - may be involved.