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08-09-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Moderate coffee and alcohol intake may reduce risk for Type 2 diabetes


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from the Black Women's Health Study suggest that consumption of moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee and alcohol may reduce the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

However, tea and decaffeinated coffee consumption did not significantly influence diabetes risk.

Julie Palmer (Boston University, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues assessed the coffee, tea, and alcohol intake of 46,906 African-American women using validated food-frequency questionnaires at baseline in 1995.

The women were followed-up for a mean period of 12 years for incident Type 2 diabetes, during which time 3671 cases were identified.

As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, increased intake of caffeinated coffee and alcohol, but not decaffeinated coffee or tea, was associated with reduced Type 2 diabetes risk.

The women were divided into caffeinated coffee consumption categories of 0-1, 1, 2-3, and 4 cups/day or more and alcohol consumption categories of 1-3, 4-6, 7-13, and 14 alcoholic drinks/week or more.

The team found that relative to no caffeinated coffee consumption, those in the lowest to the highest categories of consumption had a significant trend for decreasing relative risk for Type 2 diabetes (6-17% reductions from lowest to highest group).

Similarly, there was also a significant trend for reduction in relative risk for Type 2 diabetes associated with increasing alcohol intake (reductions of 10-32%).

The results of this research agree with those of previous studies suggesting that high coffee intake may reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes, as reported by MedWire News, although other studies have found that tea consumption is also associated with reduced risk.

The authors propose several mechanisms to explain the beneficial effects of coffee and alcohol on risk for diabetes. They say coffee is a rich source of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and lignans, and has beneficial effects on inflammation and serum lipids. Regarding alcohol, they add that there is some evidence to suggest that moderate consumption may help improve insulin sensitivity.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert