Coffee has long been championed for its health benefits over the years, but here’s a surprising one. The devoted coffee drinker could lose weight and lower their risk of type 2 diabetes.
A new study from Imperial College London has looked at the effect of higher blood caffeine levels on body weight and long-term risks of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers also examined links with major cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, and irregular heart rhythm – atrial fibrillation.
The findings offer important insight into how caffeine exerts this protective effect on adiposity – having too much fatty tissue – says Dr Dipender Gill of Imperial College.
The results of the Imperial College researchers show higher blood caffeine levels are linked to lower body weight and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
So could calorie-free caffeinated drinks play a role in fighting obesity and curbing the type 2 diabetes epidemic?
To try to answer that, the researchers teamed up with colleagues from the University of Bristol, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Uppsala University in Sweden.
Previous studies have shown drinking three to five cups of coffee a day means you are less likely to get type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with a cup of coffee containing around 70-150mg of caffeine. The latest research tracked 10,000 people of predominantly European ancestry, taking part in six long-term studies.
It also looked at genes and the role of two common variants – CYP1A2 and AHR – and how they broke down coffee in the body.
And they found that those who broke down caffeine more slowly, so were likely to have a higher level of it in their blood, had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
The team also studied if caffeine’s link to lowering the risk of diabetes might principally be down to weight loss.
The results showed weight loss drove nearly half (43%) of the effect of caffeine on the diabetes risk.
While not included in the study report, it’s logical to assume increasing your caffeine levels safely could help you keep to a healthy weight.
And for people with high blood sugar levels (prediabetes), a couple more cups of coffee might just protect them from developing type 2 diabetes.