I've been writing a good bit about coffee lately. That's because many of us enjoy having a cup (or several) regularly, and it turns out that coffee has a number of health benefits. I'm always happy to be able to encourage you to keep doing something you actually want to do. And, according to a new study, you may want to be particularly sure to maintain your coffee consumption if you're pre-diabetic.
This study was published in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine. So as you might expect from that title, it was conducted with Korean participants. However, I suspect that its results are relevant to those of us from different ethnic backgrounds as well.
For this study, the researchers examined data from nearly 3,500 pre-diabetic participants. Their glycated hemoglobin levels were 5.7% to 6.4%. The researchers wanted to determine if coffee consumption would slow the progression of diabetes in these patients. So they followed them for several years. And they used a number of analyses to try to isolate the impact of coffee and compare the coffee drinkers to control populations.
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They found that the participants lowered their risk of diabetes progression the most by drinking three or more cups of black coffee a day. I know many people don't enjoy their coffee black. So you'll be pleased to know that there wasn't a significant difference in risk reduction for people who took their coffee with cream and sugar.
Of course, there's a difference between adding a little cream and sugar to a cup of coffee and adding heavy doses of flavored syrups or whipped cream. Don't interpret the results of this study as permission to indulge in what essentially amounts to a coffee-flavored milkshake on a regular basis. That will absolutely increase your risk of diabetes regardless of whether there's a little actual coffee in the drink.
However, if you stick with the more down-to-earth mix-ins that you can add in your kitchen (or you're perfectly happy with black coffee), go ahead and continue enjoying coffee as part of your morning routine. If you're pre-diabetic, this could be a great way to reduce your risk of developing full-blown diabetes. If you're not, it's still a great way to kick off your morning with an influx of antioxidants.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD