Coffee drinking associated with reduced risk of diabetes

Researchers have found an association between drinking coffee and a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes in Finnish adults, according to a study in the March 10 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Only a few studies of coffee consumption and diabetes mellitus (DM) have been reported, even though coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world, according to background information in the article.

Jaakko Tuomilehto, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland and colleagues conducted a large study aimed at determining whether the suggested inverse relationship between coffee and type 2 DM exists. The study was conducted among the Finnish population, who have the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world.

The study combined surveys conducted in 1982, 1987, and 1992 of 6,974 Finnish men and 7,655 women aged 35 to 64 years without a history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or DM at baseline. Coffee consumption and other study parameters were determined at baseline using standardized measurements.

The researchers found that the risk of developing diabetes decreased as the amount of daily coffee consumed increased. For women, drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day was associated with a 29 percent reduced risk of diabetes; 10 or more cups a day, a 79 percent reduced risk.

For men, drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day was associated with a 27 percent lower risk for diabetes; 10 or more cups a day, a 55 percent lower risk.

“This study revealed unequivocal evidence for an inverse and graded association between coffee consumption and type 2 DM independent of other risk factors for type 2 DM. Because the Finnish population drinks more coffee than other populations, we had power to determine the risk of DM at high levels of coffee consumption,” the authors write. “The mechanisms or process by which coffee contents may exert their beneficial effects on DM are nevertheless unclear.”

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