Coffee and Diabetes

Coffee is considered the world’s most traded commodity, next to oil. It’s no wonder, because so many people are drinking it daily, but diabetics in particular should beware.




Diabetes and coffee disagree with one another, largely because of the caffeine content, but the way certain coffees are brewed also makes a difference.

What’s the Danger?

In order to avoid complications, diabetics have to maintain a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise. There needs to be a constant, steady balance of food and drinks that contain sugar, but not too much; that keep blood sugar in the mid-range of 90-160, but not too low. There is a perpetual tightrope they have to walk to keep everything running like normal, and ingesting foods and drinks that could tip the balance is to be avoided.

Type 2 diabetics who regularly drink coffee may be exacerbating their condition without even realizing it. Caffeinated coffee raises blood sugar levels and combining coffee with food, which often has hidden caffeine in it, can really create a sharp rise in blood sugar at mealtimes.

Add to that the sugar that is sometimes added to sweeten coffee, and blood sugar levels will be through the roof. When blood sugar gets too high, diabetics risk injury to their eyes, kidneys and nerves. Extremely high blood sugar can cause blindness, foot and leg amputations, kidney disease and death.

What Are Coffee Lovers to Do? 

A better option is to drink decaffeinated coffee sweetened with a sugar substitute, which doesn’t appear to affect blood sugar levels. Unsweetened decaf is even better, as well as sugar-free drinks and water, which should be at the top of the list of drinks for diabetics.

It’s also helpful to know that the way coffee is prepared is sometimes a clue to how much caffeine it contains. According to the American Dietetic Association, brewed coffee usually has the least amount of caffeine (with between 80 and 135 mg per cup), coffee made espresso comes in at second (with about 100 mg per shot), and dripped coffee has the most caffeine (with between 115 and 175 mg per cup). Since caffeine is the culprit that aggravates diabetes, coffee with the least amount of caffeine is best – or only go for decaf instead.

Did You Know? 

If you are a borderline diabetic or someone who wants to avoid diabetes, studies show that moderate coffee consumption will lower your risks for developing diabetes. Now, this only applies to those who aren’t currently diabetic. Experts attribute this to the fact that coffee contains caffeic and chlorogenic acids, which stop the production of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), a major cause of type 2 diabetes.

Other studies have concluded that drinking moderate amounts of coffee every day will increase the amount of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the body, which is instrumental in preventing type 2 diabetes from setting in. The basis for this idea is that excess sex hormones are believed to be partly responsible for triggering type 2 diabetes, and SHBG puts those sex hormones on a leash, so that they don’t get out of control. Bottom line: Curb your coffee consumption to stay at normal blood sugar levels.

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