Coffee intake and the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Professional Data: Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2


Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas by the beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans. The release of insulin by these special cells is regulated by the amount of glucose in the blood. It is responsible for transporting glucose (from carbohydrates) into the cells for energy production. After a meal, when blood sugar increases, insulin release increases. Between meals, when blood sugar is low, insulin release is low. Insulin is released from the pancreas directly into the liver where some is used and some is broken down and eliminated from the body. The rest is released into the general blood circulation. By helping to move glucose into the cells, insulin decreases blood sugar. Insulin also decreases the breakdown of stored fat and builds triglycerides. Insulin is involved in the production of protein. The proper growth and development of children is dependent on insulin.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where there is less insulin than what the body needs. This can be low insulin, a problem with the release of insulin, insulin that cannot work in the cells that need it, or insulin that is inactivated before it is able to function. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body does not produce or does not use insulin effectively. It is not simply hyperglycemia, or too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Although many risk factors are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers recently decided to investigate the role of coffee consumption. This population based cohort study involving over 17,000 men and women found that 306 new cases of type 2 diabetes developed. Consumption of coffee was recorded using a self-administered questionnaire. The researchers found that those individuals who drank 7 cups or more a day were 50 times less likely to develop diabetes when compared to those who drank less than 2 cups. The authors of this study concluded that coffee consumption was considerably associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.1


1. Van Dam RM, Feskens EJ. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lancet. Nov 2002;360:1477-78.