Does Coffee Cause Insulin Resistance?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 26th, 2023

Do you love your morning cup of joe? Do you want to know if coffee could be causing insulin resistance?

If so, then this blog post is for you!

blood sugar test

We’ll discuss the research that has been done on the effects of coffee on insulin resistance and provide helpful tips for those who are looking to reduce their risk.

How caffeine may lower your insulin sensitivity

Research shows that caffeine can be linked to lower insulin sensitivity.  Research suggests that caffeine may also increase post-meal glucose levels, suggesting that it could potentially cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity. This means that cells won’t absorb as much of the hormone, making it harder for the body to process carbohydrates and regulate blood sugar levels

Studies establish that caffeine consumption can be linked to metabolic syndrome. It has been shown to increase blood pressure, which can lead to other health issues like hypertension and stroke. 

Several scientific studies have been conducted to evaluate the link between coffee consumption and insulin resistance. Most studies find that coffee consumption is inversely associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to insulin resistance. 

Positive effects of coffee consumption:

  1. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. Several studies suggest that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, characterized by insulin resistance.
  2. Improved glucose metabolism: Coffee contains caffeine, which is known to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, thereby improving glucose metabolism. A study found that caffeine ingestion before a meal led to significantly lower insulin response and improved glucose tolerance compared to a placebo.
  3. Anti-inflammatory effects: Chronic low-grade inflammation is a hallmark of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains anti-inflammatory compounds, such as chlorogenic acid and quercetin. These compounds have been found to reduce the levels of inflammatory cytokines and improve insulin sensitivity.

Negative effects of coffee consumption:

  1. Caffeine sensitivity: Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and excessive caffeine consumption can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, and sleep disturbance. These effects can worsen insulin resistance and affect blood sugar control.
  2. Additives and sugar: Many people add sugar and cream to their coffee, which can significantly increase their calorie and sugar intake. High consumption of sugar and processed foods is linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Check out our best coffee creamers for diabetics.
  3. Genetic factors: Genetics significantly determine how individuals metabolize caffeine and respond to coffee consumption. Some people may have variations in their genes that affect their caffeine metabolism and insulin sensitivity. 

In conclusion, most scientific studies suggest that moderate coffee consumption positively affects insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. However, the negative effects of caffeine sensitivity added sugar, and genetic factors should also be considered before incorporating coffee into a dietary plan.

The impact of caffeine on people with diabetes

Coffee consumption can have both positive and negative effects on insulin sensitivity. The caffeine content in coffee is an antagonist of the A1 and A2 subtypes of the adenosine receptor, which can impair glucose tolerance. However, the addition of carbohydrates to coffee may also influence insulin sensitivity. 

On the positive side, coffee has been linked to energy expenditure and thermogenesis, which can induce insulin sensitivity.

Therefore, the effects of coffee on insulin sensitivity may depend on factors such as caffeine content, the addition of carbohydrates, or individual metabolic response. Monitoring coffee consumption and its effects on insulin sensitivity is important as part of a broader health management strategy.

People with diabetes should know how caffeine affects their insulin sensitivity. Regular high caffeine consumption over a 4-week period has been shown to impair insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Taking a caffeine capsule before eating, for example, results in higher post-meal blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes. The current meta-analysis demonstrated that acute caffeine ingestion was associated with reduced insulin sensitivity, implying that the long-term effects of regular coffee consumption on people with diabetes may be less beneficial. 

However, it is worth noting that consuming four cups/d of caffeinated coffee for 24 wk had no significant effect on insulin sensitivity or biological mediators of insulin. 

Recent studies have found that acute caffeine ingestion reduces insulin sensitivity, which has implications for people with diabetes. This could be because caffeine can act as an antagonist of the A1 and A2 subtypes of the adenosine receptor, which can impair glucose tolerance. 

Also, adding carbohydrates to coffee can have an impact on insulin sensitivity. On the other hand, coffee has been linked to energy expenditure and thermogenesis, which can induce insulin sensitivity. 

Tips for reducing caffeine intake to improve insulin sensitivity

hand filling syringe with insulin

Gradual reduction

If you are a regular caffeine drinker, suddenly cutting off caffeine from your diet can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Therefore, it’s advisable to reduce caffeine intake gradually over a period of time. 

You can start by cutting down one cup of coffee or tea a day or reducing the strength of your coffee by using more water or switching to decaf. As you get used to the lower caffeine intake, you can gradually reduce it until you reach your target intake level. 

This gradual reduction approach helps to minimize withdrawal symptoms and increases the likelihood of sticking to the plan in the long run. Remember, small steps lead to big achievements.

Get adequate sleep to boost insulin sensitivity

Sleep quality is crucial for maintaining overall health, including insulin sensitivity. Lack of sleep can disrupt the body’s metabolism, leading to insulin resistance. 

Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night to allow your body to rest and repair. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, and avoid exposure to bright lights, including electronic devices, for at least an hour before bed. 

Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, can also help promote a better night’s sleep. Prioritizing sleep can positively impact your health, energy levels, and insulin sensitivity.


In conclusion, the most effective way to prevent insulin resistance is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that promote insulin sensitivity. These efforts should include regular exercise, a balanced diet with ample nutrient intake, and avoiding habits that increase insulin resistance risk.

While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between coffee and insulin resistance, reducing coffee intake in moderation can be an informed choice for maintaining overall health and well-being.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Consult a healthcare professional for medical concerns. The author and publisher are not liable for any actions taken based on this article.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.