Some people start their day with a cup of coffee, or love a latte or cappuccino. There are many coffee lovers in America today, with a great proportion of Americans taking a cup of coffee every day.
Despite many coffee drinkers, there is always an ongoing discussion about the health benefits and risks of coffee, especially how it affects those with preexisting medical conditions.
One such condition is diabetes type 2, and it is important to separate the truth from lies, so here are facts about diabetes and coffee intake.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that prevents your body from producing the right amount of a particular hormone or preventing it from being used by the body. This hormone is called insulin, and inadequate production refers to diabetes type 1, while inefficient utilization is diabetes type 2.
Insulin hormone helps your body to utilize the sugar you eat in your food and convert it to the body’s energy. Not being able to produce insulin means your body cells will not have access to the sugar needed by the cells, and this sugar accumulates in the blood.
Common diabetic symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, dizziness, and tiredness, and all these are effects of the build-up of sugar in the blood. Diabetes also makes you prone to health complications like nerve damage, heart disease, kidney disease, loss of vision, and infections.
What are the “active ingredients” in coffee?
Many people immediately think of coffee as bad because it has a lot of sugar. But in reality, coffee itself may not be harmful to you. The substances found in coffee that can affect you are antioxidants and caffeine.
According to research, there are many antioxidants in coffee. These substances are good for your body because they can combat inflammation and attack harmful atoms or free radicals in the body and result in illness or aging.
Caffeine is the most significant constituent of coffee, and it is known as a stimulant. It is responsible for keeping you alert and awake after you drink coffee. The most effect of caffeine in diabetics is that it increases blood pressure and can control how the body responds to insulin.
How does coffee affect blood sugar?
There is no conclusion on whether coffee is good or bad for diabetes because previous research offers different points of view on this topic.
Some research has stated that coffee negatively affects blood sugar levels by making the body more insulin resistant. In other studies, conclusions show that long-term consumption of coffee may be good for the body.
In a particular study, people who took more than 6 cups of coffee a day were found to have a lower risk of diabetes than those who took only 4 to 6 cups a day. Even those who drank just 1 to 4 cups a day showed a lower risk of diabetes than non-drinkers.
Another study, which tracked over 1900 adult men and women for a median of 5.8 years, discovered that adults who drank at least one cup of coffee per week had a 22% reduced risk of prediabetes and a 34% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes when compared to people who didn’t drink coffee.
The cause for this is still unknown. Still, the main theory is that the caffeine in coffee can lead to improved insulin sensitivity—which means that cells can take sugar out of the blood and lower blood sugar levels.
Despite these results, it is important to note that they do not explicitly confirm that coffee reduces blood sugar. Still, the study’s regular coffee drinkers happened to have a reduced risk of diabetes in the long term. The studies did not state the amount of sugar in the coffee or if sugar was used in the preparation.
Furthermore, many factors can affect your blood sugar and increase the risk of getting diabetes.
These include a family history of diabetes, daily diet, lifestyle, and other medical conditions.
Summarily, increasing your coffee intake as a means to cure or prevent diabetes is not advisable.
The case against caffeine
However, caffeine, according to WebMD, can affect insulin response. This means that your insulin dose may take longer to take effect. Caffeine can also make your body more resistant to insulin. This can eventually result in high blood sugar levels and other diabetic issues.
Furthermore, a 2008 Duke University study found that caffeine may have an effect on blood glucose levels. The study looked at persons who had type 2 diabetes.
The first group of volunteers consumed 500 mg of caffeine every day for a week–roughly the equal of two cups of coffee–while the second group abstained from caffeine. Each person’s blood glucose levels were measured many times throughout the week, and it was discovered that those who drank caffeine had blood sugars that were around 8% higher than those who did not.
According to research, insulin sensitivity decreases in response to a single dosage of coffee after 72 hours of caffeine abstinence. It also declines after four weeks of heavy coffee drinking, indicating that the body does not develop a tolerance to caffeine’s effect on insulin over time.
There is growing evidence that genetics also play a role in how different people absorb caffeine. Researchers distinguish between “quick metabolizer” and “slow metabolizer” based on how coffee affects their glucose and insulin levels.
The effects of caffeine energy shot drinks on adolescents were investigated in a study published near the end of 2020. It discovered that not only did the drinks impair adolescent glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, but there were also significant disparities between patients that appeared to correlate with genetic differences.
Those with the fastest coffee metabolism had the worst glucose and insulin responses. Earlier study postulated that those who clear caffeine quickly never get a chance to create a tolerance to all of caffeine’s effects in the body, but there’s still no agreement on whether people can build a tolerance to all of caffeine’s effects in the body.
Decaf, on the other hand, appears to cause the same loss in insulin sensitivity as regular coffee, but to a smaller extent. Researchers believe this is because even decaf contains traces of caffeine.
Is coffee safe if I have diabetes?
Although the conclusions on coffee benefits are not very clear, if you monitor your blood sugar and drink coffee with little to no sugar, you should be safe. You can see coffee like other foods, watching the sugar amount closely and ensuring you reduce your caffeine consumption to reasonable amounts.
Replacing with sugar free or diabetic friendly coffee creamers can help. Drinking just black coffee might be even better.
How much caffeine is too much caffeine?
According to the FDA, 400 mg of caffeine a day is recommended. This is about four to five cups of coffee as the maximum amount a healthy adult should drink a day.
However, If you have diabetes, a lower limit is favorable. For some diabetes patients, taking more than 200 mg of caffeine may have a negative impact on blood sugar.
How much sugar is too much sugar?
For non-diabetics, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taking less than ten percent of your total calorie level. For a 3,000-calorie diet, that would mean about 60g of total sugar from all sources in a day. This sugar level is important if you take coffee on the go.
For those with diabetes, you would need to ask your doctor to be certain about the best limit for you. Working with the limit as a percentage of your total daily calories instead of a set amount of sugar will enable you to change your intake easily based on how much you eat or your weight.
What is the best coffee for diabetics?
Decaffeinated coffee could be the best choice for people with diabetes as researchers found it provides the advantages of coffee with some of the harmful effects associated with caffeine.
Is coffee good for prediabetes?
Long-term consumption tolerance may cause the protective effect. A more recent 2018 study showed that coffee and caffeine long-term effects may be associated with lowering prediabetes and diabetes risk.
In conclusion, if you have any specific dietary needs, concerns, or questions, talk to your nutritionist or healthcare provider as much as possible. They will give you the best of advice and be happy to help you to the best of their ability. They can specifically recommend the kinds of food that would be most suitable for you.