Diabetes disproportionately affects Hispanics in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While there is no single factor which explains the disparity, genetics, lack of access to health care, and cultural stigmas may all play an important role. However, there seems to be new hope on the horizon in the form of drinking coffee. But careful, this is a tricky one!
“There have been many metabolic studies that have shown that caffeine, in the short term, increases your blood glucose levels and increases insulin resistance,” Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition and the study’s lead author, told The Atlantic. “Those findings really didn’t translate into an increased risk for diabetes long-term.”
Instead of an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates drinking coffee was associated with an 8 percent decrease in the condition in women and a 4 percent reduction in men.
Even decaffeinated coffee carried with it benefits, reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes by 7 percent.
The research indicated a link between drinking coffee and reduced diabetes risk, but did not provide a cause-and-effect relationship.
The data was compiled using the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, two research projects which followed more than 80,000 women and 40,000 men for almost 30 years. Because there was no significant difference between decaffeinated coffee and regular coffee, researchers believe there is something else in coffee which lends to it anti-diabetes properties.
For Hispanics, the news is important, not only because the population is disproportionately affected by diabetes, but because Hispanics drink more coffee daily when compared to non-Hispanics, according to the National Coffee Association Hispanic-American Market Report.
The report shows 74 percent of Hispanics drinking coffee daily, which is an average of 12 points above other groups.
“Coffee is one of the leading sources of antioxidants in the U.S. diet,” explained dietitian Sharon Palmer to Fox News Latino. “While it used to be cautioned against, now science indicates that this plant-based beverage may hold many benefits, making it a healthy beverage—especially if you use it without added sugar or fat—and it can replace less healthy beverages in your diet.”
Too much coffee, however, is not advised. The Mayo Clinic states excess caffeine can cause insomnia, restlessness, muscle tremors, elevated heartbeat, upset stomach, irritability, and nervousness. Drinking coffee has also been linked to increased risk of glaucoma, osteoporosis, stroke in people with high blood pressure and miscarriage, so this information must be considered carefully. Additionally, common add-ons to coffee such as sugar and cream pose more health risks that should be taken into account when revisiting this habit.