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A Proper Cup of Coffee

Posted by bmagnus On December - 23 - 2009

The news is good for coffee drinkers! A new meta analysis shows that drinking coffee or tea reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes — and it doesn’t even matter if you drink regular or decaf!

This research looked at 18 studies involving just under a half million people. While researchers caution that maintaining an appropriate weight and engaging in regular physical activity has a far greater impact on diabetes risk than coffee intake, 2 cups of coffee daily reduced the risk by roughly 25%. Each daily cup of coffee amounted to about a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes overall. This held true regardless of other risk factors. The bottom line is that coffee, decaf, and tea drinkers have enough reduced risk that researchers think that the “protective effects of these beverages warrant further investigation in randomized trials.”

Just by way of caution, the research that was analyzed was done between 1966 and 2009. A cup of coffee in 1966 was a “standard” 6 ounces. A grande from Starbucks is 16 oz, almost 3 “standard” cups all by itself. This research involved plain coffee — maybe with a lump of sugar or a tablespoon of milk — not a super-mega mocha-latte-capu-frapu-raptacino with extra whipped cream or any other variety of coffee flavored milkshake. Modern blended coffee drinks and tea drinks such as chai contain relatively little coffee or tea, and pack a whole bunch of calories that most of us certainly don’t need.

This isn’t the only positive news about the effects of coffee. In 2009 alone, we have learned that coffee drinking is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancerreduced risk of dementia, slower progression of liver disease, slowing the progress of ALS (in women only), reducing exercise pain, works in as little as 10 minutes, and from an environmental standpoint can even be good for agricultural diversity. All those stories are from just one scientific website (ScienceDaily usually has links to the original study at the bottom if you want more information); a more formal search is likely to bring up additional research studies. The fact that we have research going back over 40 years on coffee shows that scientists have been trying to figure out whether it’s good or bad for a long time. Right now, it looks like a cup or two a day is probably a good thing for most people.

Her Take: without this post, I might have overlooked this story. Thanks!

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