Coffee consumption and Type 2 Diabetes.




Diabetes Care

Related Monographs

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


Diabetes mellitus, a term that means "the running through of sugar," was first identified in the 1st century AD. The disease was described in old books as "the melting down of flesh into urine." 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.

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.

Researchers recently investigated coffee consumption and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have shown that a higher intake of coffee is inversely associated with diabetes risk, but data on lower levels and types of coffee are lacking. Data was taken from the Nurses’ Health Study II, which involved over 88,000 women. Consumption of caffeine and coffee were assessed in 1991, 1995, and 1999. There were 1,263 confirmed cases of type 2 diabetes. The results showed that when compared to non-coffee drinkers, moderate intake of coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated) was linked to a decreased risk of diabetes. This association was not seen in tea drinkers. The authors concluded that moderate caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee intake was associated with a lower risk. Other factors in coffee may play a role in the development of this disease.1


1. Van Dam RM, et al. Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Feb 2006. Diabetes Care 29:398-403.