Why do heavy coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, a disease on the increase around the world that can lead to serious health problems? Scientists are offering a new solution to that long-standing mystery in an ACS, ‘Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry’ report.
Scientists are reporting new evidence that drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes and that caffeine may be the ingredient largely responsible for this effect. Their findings are among the first animal studies to demonstrate this apparent link.
Ling Zheng, Kun Huang and colleagues explain that previous studies show that coffee drinkers are at a lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95 percent of diabetes cases in the world.
Those studies show that people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily have a 50 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and every additional cup of coffee brings another decrease in risk of almost 7 percent.
Scientists have implicated the misfolding of a substance called human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP)in causing Type 2 diabetes, and some are seeking ways to block that process. Zheng and Huang decided to see if coffee’s beneficial effects might be due to substances that block hIAPP.
Indeed, they did identify two categories of compounds in coffee that significantly inhibited hIAPP. They suggest that this effect explains why coffee drinkers show a lower risk for developing diabetes. “A beneficial effect may thus be expected for a regular coffee drinker”, the researchers conclude.
The scientists fed either water or coffee to a group of laboratory mice commonly used to study diabetes.
Coffee also caused a cascade of other beneficial changes in the fatty liver and inflammatory adipocytokines related to a reduced diabetes risk.
Additional lab studies showed that caffeine may be “one of the most effective anti-diabetic compounds in coffee,” the scientists say.