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Coffee & Health

Is Taking Coffee Good or Bad for me If I Have Diabetes?

Many questions have been asked about the health benefits of coffee and its side effects on your health. The more questions you have, the more researchers have undergone studies to find out more helpful information about the benefit, adverse effects, and some other essential things to know about coffee, because we have a lot of people who can’t function properly until their nose has picked up the flavour of a brewed coffee and their tongue tasting it. Coffee has a special place in people’s hearts globally, especially in America with over 68% of its adults drinking at least a cup every day in 2018.

woman sipping on a cup of coffee


Some facts about coffee are interestingly staggering, from being the most popular beverage to its different health benefits such as protection against developing cancer and depression. They are staggering and would continue to wow us because as much debate about its benefits and negatives, different studies are being done to understand more. People have different opinions about coffee, most of which —professional and emotional. But many people have not gotten the answer to their questions about coffee and diabetes. Is coffee good or bad for people with diabetes?

What is Coffee?

When you have diabetes, two things are happening in your body:

  • Your body is not producing enough insulin that your body needs. This causes type 1 diabetes
  • Your body is producing enough insulin but is not making efficient use of it in the body. This causes type 2 diabetes.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a type of hormone that is usually released by the pancreas in your body, and what it does is that it helps your body move the sugar you have consumed into cells, where they are converted into energy.

When your body cannot produce the needed insulin, or it can’t handle it efficiently, the cells in your body won’t be able to absorb the sugar, and they’d become excess in the blood, which could lead to diabetes with symptoms such as

  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination
  • Tiredness and;
  • Thirstiness

When diabetes is prolonged in the body, it could lead to some other chronic conditions such as:

  • Heart diseases
  • Kidney failure and disease
  • Vision impairment or loss and;
  • Nerve Damage.

Active Substances or Ingredients in Coffee

You’d probably think coffee is bad for you and can lead to diabetes because of the sugar and sweeteners added to it, which might be right. But, alone in itself, coffee is not harmful to your health. On the other hand, the constituents of coffee are the things that might be harmful to you. Such substances are caffeine and antioxidants.

  • Caffeine: this is the most famous constituent in coffee, and although it is naturally occurring in coffee and has some great benefits, because of this, we can’t lay down on the side effects and negatives that it poses. It is suspected to be the ingredient that keeps you awake and alert because it is a stimulant that acts on the Central Nervous System. Diabetic patients that drink coffee would have coffee increase their blood glucose or blood sugar levels, and it also has some impact on how their body can manage insulin.
  • Antioxidants: antioxidants are chemicals in our body that influences your immune system by helping you fight inflammation and neutralize free radicals — molecules in the body that stimulates ageing and illnesses.

How Coffee Affects Your Blood Sugar Levels

Different research has gone into finding out the natural effect coffee has on blood sugar. Some studies revealed that coffee could be dangerous for diabetic patients by making them be more insulin resistant. While sine other studies showed that people who have taken coffee for a very long time have a reduced risk of developing diabetes and could not do anything to blood sugar levels.

A study showed that people who took more than 6 cups of coffee reduced their risk of developing diabetes compared to those who took less than 4 cups. Interestingly, those who took less than 4 cups of coffee also have a reduced risk of developing diabetes compared to people who don’t drink coffee at all. The research suggests that caffeine in prolonged coffee consumption has created insulin sensitivity in the body that allows the cell to freely absorb the glucose and remove them from the blood to where they are needed for energy.

Some of these studies are inconclusive because of the lack of some information. Did the rest subjects add sugar to their coffee? Do they make use of creams? How often do they take their coffee? These are some of the questions that should be answered before we can honestly know the effect of coffee on blood sugar. Some other factors were not considered in the research: family history, underlying health issues, and subjects’ daily activities. It is essential to know a person’s family history concerning caffeine because some genetically can burn caffeine faster while some genetically burn it slower. Exercising also helps in removing the glucose from the blood and taking them to cells. That burb them for energy to fuel the working out activities. So it is essential to take note of all these factors.

Is Coffee Safe For Diabetic Patients

Because the studies are inconclusive and have a different opinions about the effect of coffee on diabetic patients, you need to watch the way you drink coffee. Drinking coffee without sugar and cream is the best way to go because they contain lots of sugar. But if you can’t do that, but coffee and the other foods you eat in the same light, watch out for how much sugar you use with it and the amount of cream as well. Watch your body responds to caffeine as well, as this would help you know the right amount to take every time and, most importantly, stay away from energy drinks as well.

Some of the things to note before you continue to take coffee include:

What Is The Maximum Healthy Amount Of Caffeine You Should Consume? According to the FDA, the maximum amount of caffeine recommended is 400 mg; this amount would often translate to 4 or 5 cups of coffee. 400 mg of caffeine is the maximum regulated for adults, and adolescents should not consume more than a hundred while children should avoid it.

For diabetic patients, the amount consumed should be half of the regular one for adults without diabetes. I.e. 200 mg is the recommended amount of caffeine diabetic patients should consume. Taking more could lead to adverse effects and can aggravate the symptoms of diabetes.

  • What Is The Maximum Healthy Amount Of Sugar You Should Consume?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that for people without diabetes, the total calories you would consume sugar should take just less than 10% in all; this means if your total calories in a day are 10,000, then the amount of sugar for this amount of calorie should be less than 250 grams. You must remember this when you are eating or taking coffee because some coffee shops use up to 25g of sugar for one cup. So you need to know how much you’re consuming.

For diabetic patients, you need to consult with your doctor to know your sugar limit and how often you should take it. Speak with your doctor if you have diabetes to understand what is best for you to eat and the amount and type of sugar you should take with your coffee.


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