By: Soey Park for Body1
The attitude toward coffee and its effects on health have been debated since its introduction into mainstream society. Recent research has shown however, that coffee may have significant health benefits.
It has been suggested that coffee’s negative reputation comes from the lack of control for confounding variables in previous studies. For example, most studies did not take into account that individuals most likely to drink copious amounts of coffee also tend to make other unhealthy choices in life, such as sleeping less, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Without controlling for such confounding variables, studies in the past have linked drinking coffee with such conditions as heart disease and cancer.
In an effort to better understand the effects of coffee on health, a systematic review and meta-analysis of research conducted between 1966 to July of 2009 was conducted to study the relationship between incidence of Type 2 diabetes and coffee and tea consumption by researchers at the University of Sydney’s George Institute. Published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, an analysis of the available, relevant studies found that regularly drinking coffee was inversely associated with the risk of developing diabetes. In fact, the research suggested that drinking three to four cups* of coffee a day may reduce the chances of developing diabetes by roughly 25 percent, while the average tea drinker had a 20 percent lower risk.
With similar results for decaffeinated coffee, the study indicates that the health benefits of coffee are not attributed to caffeine. Further research needs to be conducted however, to identify and better understand the active components in coffee found to have beneficial effects on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.