Caffeine May Be Harmful to Diabetics

April 8, 2011

A growing body of research suggests that caffeine may contribute to the development and poor control of type 2 diabetes.

A growing body of research suggests that caffeine disrupts glucose metabolism and may contribute to the development and poor control of type 2 diabetes. A review article in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science, a quarterly peer-reviewed journal, examines the latest evidence, which contradicts earlier studies suggesting a protective effect of caffeine.

James Lane, PhD, Duke University, describes numerous studies that have demonstrated caffeine’s potential for increasing insulin resistance in adults that do not have diabetes, an effect that could make susceptible individuals more likely to develop the disease.

In adults with type 2 diabetes, studies have shown that the increase in blood glucose levels that occurs after they eat carbohydrates is exaggerated if they also consume a caffeinated beverage such as coffee. This effect could contribute to higher glucose levels in people with diabetes and could compromise treatment aimed at controlling their blood glucose.

“More than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes,” said Jack E. James, PhD, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, the journal’s editor in chief.

“The links that have been revealed between diabetes and the consumption of caffeine beverages (especially coffee) are of monumental importance when it is acknowledged that more than 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine daily. Dr. Lane’s review of the topic gives the clearest account to date of what we know, what we don’t know, and what needs to be done—urgently,” James said in a statement.

Journal of Caffeine Research provides an authoritative source and central forum to advance knowledge of caffeine science and caffeine’s effects on human health. It strives to be inclusive with respect to the diversity of research methodologies used to investigate caffeine, and the diversity of views and opinions regarding its mechanisms and effects, and will combine scientific research and clinical studies on caffeine, with an impact across many fields.