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A trip to Starbucks could reduce your risk of diabetes

June 9, 2010 |  1:22 pm

That cup of joe may be doing more than keeping you awake – it also may be reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Coffee That’s the conclusion of a recent Japanese study involving a strain of mice that are known to become diabetic.

Studies of people have found a correlation between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of diabetes. To find out if there was a direct link between coffee and diabetes, the Japanese researchers let mice drink diluted black coffee instead of water. Those coffee drinkers were compared witha similar group of mice that got plain old H20.

After five weeks, both groups of mice had consumed the same amount of food and weighed essentially the same. However, the coffee-drinking mice had less fat under the skin and in their abdomens. In addition, their insulin did a better job of reducing the concentration of glucose in their blood.

To find out which component of coffee was responsible for these effects, the researchers did another experiment comparing plain water with caffeinated water. Once again, the caffeine-drinking mice wound up with less fat than the control mice despite eating the same amount of food and weighing about the same overall. The caffeine group also had a lower concentration of blood glucose.

The findings “suggest that coffee consumption may help to prevent type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Caffeine appears to play an important role, but it can’t be the only factor, considering that other studies have linked decaf coffee to a reduced risk of diabetes. The researchers said they are continuing to search for other coffee compounds that are anti-diabetic.

-- Karen Kaplan

Photo: Drinking this could help reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, researchers say. Credit: Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times