Monday, April 28, 2014


Many of us dread the development of diabetes mellitus because of its severe CV effects, and chronicity. Heart attacks, strokes and end stage renal disease are long term consequences of diabetes. I have seen many many cases of diabetes and it frightens me. What more with our "instant  food" culture and lack of exercise? This is the milieu for the development of type 2 diabetes. In many ways, the development of type 2 diabetes tells us that we have not been taking good care of our body, sacrificing the body in the pursuit of convenience and laziness. Well there is a silver lining in the horizon.

There is an interesting paper out in the April 24th issue of Diabetologia showing that a regular intake of black coffee may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dr Shilpa Bhupathiraju and colleagues at the Harvard Public School of Health, Boston, did an observational study, looking into three large cohort of health personnels in the Massachusetts area, namely the Nurses Health Study 1 ( nurses of ages 30-55yrs ) from 1986-2006, the Nurses Health Study 2 ( younger nurses ) from 1991-2007 and the Health Professionals Follow up study ( males from 40-75 yrs) from 1986-2006. These health personnels were followed up for about 20 years, every 4 years they were send a food questionnaire, and they were asked specifically about their coffee drinking habits. These 3 cohorts of Health Personnel totalled about 124,000 personnel.
They found that those health personnel who had increased their coffee intake by 1 +1/2 cup over 4 years had a 11% reduction in incidence of T2DM when compared to those who had no change in their coffee drinking habit. Thats nice. They also found that those who had a reduction in the amount of coffee that they drank over the 4 years, had a 17% increase in the incidence of T2DM. But the best is that those who drank 3 cuppa  more a day, had a 37% reduction in T2DM. We are talking about an average of 240 cc cups, with minimal sugar and milk.

Please know that this is an observational study with all its flaws, but because of the large number of subjects involved and that they do understand questionnaires, the findings merit some consideration. Anyway, many of us do like a cuppa or two so that increasing it to 3-4 cuppa should not be a big sacrifice. All in the interest of better health and avoidance of this chronic non-communicable disease of type 2 diabetes mellitus.


Winston Yap said...

The greatest flaw in this observation that drinking more coffee can help to ward off diabetes is that when people drink coffee, they tend to add plenty of sugar which will instead help them to get diabetes faster!
So, this observation must be qualified with the caveat that the coffee drank must be without sugar or sweetened milk.
I think that researchers are looking at other more practical ways to conquer this problem.
If I am not mistaken, stem cells are also being used in the research.
Another problem is the absorption of sugar which is that as the body ages, the body's cells tend to be getting less and less capable of absorption of sugar, thus resulting in a diabetic situation.
As far as kidney failure, I think that medication also contributes a fair share to it.
Especially iron pills if used without proper supervision can result in severe kidney damage.
Nowadays we also see the labels, especially of newfangled medications which bear labels such as "This medicine is prescribed for you because the benefits outweighs the risks".
This is quite scary, isn't it?
And the FDA is also known for toadying up to big pharmaceutical companies and have been known to let them cut corners!!
Big money is at stake!!!

hmatter said...

I highlighted that this cuppas that they studied in USA, had minimal sugar and milk.
Your point is well taken, Winston.