Increasing daily coffee consumption may reduce type 2 diabetes risk

People who increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who made no changes to their coffee consumption, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. In addition, the study found that those who decreased their coffee consumption by more than a cup per day increased their type 2 diabetes risk by 17%.

“Our findings confirm those of previous studies that showed that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk,” said Shilpa Bhupathiraju, lead author and research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. “Most importantly, they provide new evidence that changes in coffee consumption habit can affect type 2 diabetes risk in a relatively short period of time.”

The study appears online Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes).

The researchers analyzed data on caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and caffeinated tea consumption from 48,464 women in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital-based Nurses’ Health Study (1986-2006), 47,510 women in Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2007), and 27,759 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2006). Participants’ diets were evaluated every four years with a questionnaire, and those who self-reported type 2 diabetes filled out additional questionnaires. A total of 7,269 cases of type 2 diabetes were documented.

Results showed that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than one cup per day (median change=1.69 cups/day) over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent four years compared to those who made no changes in consumption. (A cup of coffee was defined as eight ounces, black, or with a small amount of milk and/or sugar.) Those who lowered their daily coffee consumption by more than one cup (median change=2 cups/day) had a 17% higher risk for diabetes. Changes in decaffeinated coffee consumption and caffeinated tea consumption were not associated with changes in risk for type 2 diabetes.

“These findings further demonstrate that, for most people, coffee may have health benefits,” said Frank Hu, senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH. “But coffee is only one of many factors that influence diabetes risk. More importantly, individuals should watch their weight and be physically active.”


  1. This article is quite interesting because as a kid I was always told of how unhealthy coffee is, guess that was just a mere myth then. To think coffee could potentially hold some important health benefits (depending, as stated above, on consumption) is quite mind blowing – makes me think that students nowadays might not actually be so bad off in terms health, especially concerning type 2 diabetes. The fact that it ISN’T to do with the caffeine in coffee makes me wonder, what it could be then that provides this let’s say health benefit? Could this factor that reduces type 2 diabetes risk in coffee be harvested/collected somehow and put into the former of medication to accommodate people who aren’t coffee drinkers but run a risk of obtaining diabetes due to family history? Important questions I’d think for type 2 diabetes potentials.

  2. Everything about coffee is exceptional, the smell, the taste, even the look of it. It is good to hear that coffee has its advantages as well. However, just like everything it is important to take the amount of consumption into account. Everyone must also remember that fitness and a good healthy diet is also important for a decreased risk of diabetes ‘type 2’. One can’t assume that extra coffee will cancel the effect of unhealthy food intake. Other than that it is very interesting and good to hear.

  3. As an avid coffee lover, I found this article to be very interesting. Coffee is addictive. Most students on campus can’t go through the day without a cup. I think everything should be done in moderation. Coffee has positives and negatives we shouldn’t be too dependent it. I was always told to believe coffee is only bad for you. Coffee increases stress and insulin levels therefore leaving you feeling tried. In my personal experience I tried to cut out coffee and replace it with apples as a “wake me up” in the mornings, personally I didn’t feel apples are a good substitute. The study, in the article, shows that coffee is not all bad for you, if the test subjects increased their daily coffee intake they decreased their risk for type 2 diabetes. When the test subjects tried alternative caffeine products, their risk for typed 2 diabetes increased significantly. I will definitely keep drinking coffee.

  4. Coffee has so many up sides, but I feel more downsides. I am a chronic coffee drinker and it is right beside impossible for me to give it up! It doesn’t necessarily wake me up, but I do feel more able to function with a mug of coffee at my side early mornings or late nights. It is a hug in a cup. I have seen that the effects of caffeine depends on the consumer. Some people are jumping the walls after one cup of coffee while others, like me, can drink a whole pot before bedtime and still sleep soundly. I feel about this piece of science and proof the same way as about dark chocolate decreasing your chance of having a heart attack, it is such a small percentage considering other factors that it almost doesn’t matter. But it sure does help me conscience when having my one cup way to many a day!

  5. People respond to different stimuli in different manners. Coffee consumption can be the same issue too.

    Some people could drink but one cup and be kept up all night, while others could drink a whole pot and still feel nothing at all. A number of factors influence how each individual reacts to caffeine consumption. With light of that, the benefits of drinking coffee to reduce diabetes could prove helpful for some, not all.

    Body weight, age and hereditary factors influence how each individuals body reacts to this stimuli, and it can vary from individual to individual.

  6. I love coffee and drink it daily, it makes me feel awake in the mornings. I am glad to see that, according to studies done by the highly acclaimed Harvard School of Public Health, it lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes. Now I won’t feel guilty every time I drink it. Although there might be some health disadvantages of drinking coffee, the advantages overshadow them. coffee should me enjoyed in moderate consumption.

  7. After years of drinking coffee my doctor told me that coffee is bad for my heart and she ordered me to stop drinking it. stubbornly i went against her orders, to my surprise i nearly died (okay maybe not die die but i had difficulties breathing). So although coffee is proven beneficial but it still does have high risks. Should we now take a a lot of coffee for it’s benefits or a little coffee or (as my doctor said) no coffee at all? are it”s benefits worth it’s risks?

  8. It is interesting how the amount of coffee you drink per day is actually related to the increase or decrease of type 2 diabetes, and as you increase the intake the risk decreases, however the risks of increasing coffee intake are drastic as you are actually increasing chances of heart attacks, sleeping problems and other related effects and coffee can be addictive too. lets not make change over one benefit that will bring us problems because at the end, the problems will obviously obscure the benefit. Best solution can be to avoid it or not be a regular even though research shows that it can lead to an increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes if you decrease your intake of coffee

  9. I’m at risk of getting diabetes since two of my family members are suffering from type 2 diabetes and coffee is one of the diet which I do not usually take. Since I received this interesting information about coffee I will start to take coffee regularly and also advice some of my family members to do the same to reduce the risk of getting diabetes.Everyone need to get this message so as to reduce the spreading of this disease which has a devastating effect to the human communities. Coffee should not be a scarce commodity and the access to it all over the world should be easy.

  10. coffee makes me feel weak every time i drink it and i am worried if it will not lead to a permanent bad condition yet i am also at a risk of diabetes since my family has a lot of people with it

  11. i don’t really like coffee but with these benefits i will save myself from diabetes especially because i have a high risk of getting since ma family has a lot of people with it. but am also worried if it doesn’t lead to other diseases because after I’ve drank it i feel week

  12. i do not like coffee but with these benefits i will just find a way to save myself from diabetes. i’m worried though just as Raeesa is if this doesn’t trigger other health conditions because after I’ve drank it i just feel feel week.

  13. Diabetes is one of the fastest growing, life threatening diseases affecting the world today. To think coffee can help lower the risk is “mind-boggeling”. Drinking more coffee lowers the risk, drinking less coffee ups the risk, but what if someone does not drink coffee at all? Would this lower, up or have no effect on the risk? If a family is prone to diabetes and its members don’t drink coffee, should they begin drinking more than four cups a day? Coming from a varsity, students love coffee, the coffee shops continually have customers. Could this be said that varsities with busy coffee shops should in theory have lower diabetes percentages?

  14. There are many things to take into consideration when suggesting an increase in coffee intake. It has been proven that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes, but what other effects could two cups of coffee a day have on you? On the one hand coffee has many antioxidants that can speed up metabolism, help one concentrate more, decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and cancer, and decrease the amount of inflammation that the body experiences. However coffee needs to be had in moderation and the effects experienced depend on the individual. Some people experience nervous twitches, they find that it disturbs their sleep; it can cause some heart damage and can even cause ulcers. Everyone needs to experience how coffee affects them personally. The hard part comes when people need to find a balance to how much coffee they are drinking. How do you know if it is too much or too little? I personally love my coffee, and have reached my own conclusions that the benefits of drinking coffee outweigh the disadvantages. Perhaps people should do more research on this though. Will it be possible to isolate the specific part in coffee that reduces these risks? How can one tell whether they are having enough coffee to receive all the benefits while making sure that it’s not too much?

  15. Can coffee have benefits? Yes, researchers found that the intake of coffee on a daily basis can reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes. The research also shown that people who lowered their daily coffee intake has a 17% higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
    In my opinion I still think that coffee is a bad habit, and a risk for your health. Although research has shown that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes, they haven’t confirmed or indicated why coffee reduces your risk, so, is this research trustworthy enough?

  16. I am aware that diabetes is one of the fastest growing, life-threatening, non-communicable diseases affecting South African’s, especially since my family members are affected.
    Being a coffee lover and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, this article highlighted the benefits of increasing the intake of caffeinated coffee over a four- year period and lowering the risk as compared to reducing the intake and increasing the risk.

    However, Is there a total health benefit? yes, caffeine reduces the risk of diabetes, but how certain are we that this increased intake of caffeine, doesn’t trigger and lead to other conditions?

  17. This finding is quite contradictory to what people might think would be the effect of an increases coffee intake. I would like to know what happens on a particulate level. How does coffee decrease the risk of diabetes? Would it be advisable to suggest coffee as a way to prevent diabetes to people running a risk of contracting diabetes? If there is some chemical substance in the coffee itself that lowers the risk of becoming a diabetic, would it be possible to extract that substance and concentrate it as a substance for prevention? I do hope someone is doing further research and testing on this subject, as it might lead to a better insight of the disease.

  18. Wow this is interesting!…I love coffee with all my heart and i have always knew that coffee is not good for my health so i had to limit the cups of coffee i have per day, but after reading this, my thoughts about coffee have changed. I now know that increasing my consumption of coffee by one cup could lower the chances of having type 2 diabetes by 11%.

  19. wow that’s interesting! i always avoided high intake of coffee because of its disadvantages. Now that it has a good health benefit, i will increase the intake with no worries. But what are the intake limitations though?

  20. I’m a coffee addict, the taste of coffe just never gets old for me. And I’ve awlways been told how coffee is bad for and my health but its actually refreshing to see that coffee is not so bad for me. Now I can enjoy my cup knowing that there are benefits to it all.


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