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Research suggests that decaffeinated coffee can prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The American Heart Association Journal has published research, which suggests that decaf coffee drinkers lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study looked at the coffee drinking habits of a large sample of American adults and found that those who drank moderate amounts of coffee, that’s less than 5 cups per day, had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes and even suicide. Now, in this month’s landmark study by the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products suggests that certain components in coffee – both caffeinated and decaf - protects against type 2 diabetes. 

In the latest study, researchers identified two compounds in coffee that are thought to help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. In the new study, researchers from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark tested several components of coffee in rat cells. They found two components that appeared to combat symptoms of diabetes in the cells: Cafestol and caffeic acid, which are found in both caffeinated and decaf coffee.

When a person has diabetes, he or she becomes insulin resistant. Unregulated blood sugar levels also characterize the disease. The researchers found that cafestol increased blood sugar intake in the cells and that both cafestol and caffeic acid increased insulin secretion. The fact that the two components targeted systems and actions related to diabetes suggests they could be the components that give coffee its protective benefit. The dual benefit of cafestol was especially noteworthy to the study authors. This is true for both caffeinated and decaf coffee. 

Now, this knowledge is not brand new. The link between drinking coffee and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes onset has been previously discovered. However, scientists were unsure why the connection was there. While there was some speculation that the caffeine in coffee might have a role, other data has suggested that people benefit even if they’re drinking decaf.   

A disclaimer on the study is that it was on rat cells – not humans. Since the study was done in rat cells, it remains unconfirmed whether they indeed are responsible, and the researchers argue that it’s likely other components play a part too. After all, coffee is a highly complex beverage with hundreds of different compounds. In any case, the findings could contribute to the development of better medications for the disease.

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