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Dr. Campbell - Coffee: The miracle drink

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A new study shows that increasing your coffee consumption by one cup daily can reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Previous studies in the last year have shown that the morning cup of coffee (when drank in moderation) has been associated with lower risk for liver cancer, heart disease, stroke and even prostate cancer. With heart disease, there does appear to be a “U shaped” relationship—in other words, moderate consumption--- 2 cups per day tends to confer benefit—whereas lower rates may have no effect on rates of heart disease and significantly higher consumption rates may actually be bad for you.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not respond to insulin well. Insulin is a substance our body makes in order to help our cells process sugars or carbohydrates, which we use for fuel.

In contrast to Type 1 or juvenile diabetes, in Type 2 the body makes plenty of insulin—the cells just do not utilize the insulin in an efficient way (insulin resistance). In Type 1, the body no longer makes insulin. Type 2 diabetes is associated with higher rates of heart disease and stroke.

A new study was published in the Journal Diabetologia, The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers gathered data from three studies. The participants included:

? 48,464 women in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-based Nurses' Health Study (1986-2006)

? 47,510 women in the Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2007)

? 27,759 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2006).

In these studies, the diets of the participants were evaluated using questionnaires every four years, with participants who reported having Type 2 diabetes filling out additional questionnaires. In total, 7,269 study participants had Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that the participants who increased their coffee intake by more than one cup a day (on average, an increase of 1.69 cups per day) over a 4-year period had an 11 percent lower Type 2 diabetes risk over the subsequent four years, compared with people who did not change their intake.

Also, people who lowered their daily consumption by more than one cup of coffee (on average, a decrease of two cups per day) showed a 17 percent higher risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, the researchers examined the risks and benefits associated with drinking decaffeinated coffee and certain types of tea – in order to better determine if caffeine played an important role. Overall, they didn’t see any association between diabetes risk and these types of beverages.

Coffee has a lot of bioactive compounds and phenolic compounds that are associated with lowering risk of diabetes.

Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S., according to researchers at the University of Scranton. Antioxidants have numerous health benefits. In addition, coffee may have effects on certain hormones that are associated with the development of Type 2 diabetes. However, we really don’t know for sure the exact mechanisms of how this effect occurs.

As with most things—moderation is good. Too much can lead to adverse effects. With coffee,

higher doses can lead to anxiety, depression and cardiovascular events. The right mix appears to be around two cups per day.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends no more than three or four, at most. Most importantly, the best way to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes is to stay active—exercise and diet—maintain a healthy body weight. Coffee is just one piece of the puzzle.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter.

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