AsianScientist (Jan. 11, 2023) – Asia is the epicentre of worldwide epidemic of diabetes with more than 60% of the people with diabetes living in the region; about half of them in China and India combined. In Singapore alone the lifetime probability of developing diabetes is one in three, and the number of those with diabetes is projected to surpass 430,000 by 2050. Researchers everywhere have been looking for ways to reduce this burden of diabetes.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a team of researchers from the Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health (GloW) in Singapore and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the National Institutes of Health in the US have found that drinking coffee could lower the list of type 2 diabetes in women who had gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman’s body can’t make enough insulin during pregnancy. The global prevalence of gestational diabetes is around 14% with significant regional variations. About 50% of women with gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes post preganancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To find out whether coffee could reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes in women who previously had gestational diabetes, a team of researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the National Institutes of Health in the US teamed up with the Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health (GloW) at the School of Medicine in the National University of Singapore. They recruited 4,522 women, mostly white, with a history of gestational diabetes and studied them for about 25 years.
The researchers found that the study participants who consumed caffeinated coffee were less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those who did not. Compared to women who didn’t drink coffee at all, those who drank less than one cup per day, two to three cups per day, and four or five cups per day had a 10%, 17%, and 53% lower risk of developing diabetes.
However, researchers suggest that more research is needed especially in local contexts to study the benefits of coffee in women who had gestational diabetes. It also needs to be ascertained further whether it is caffeine or other compounds such as alkaloids and diterpenes present in the coffee which led to the lower risk of type-2 diabetes in the participants.
“Although coffee presents as a potentially healthier alternative to sweetened beverages, the health benefits of coffee vary and much depend on the type and the amount of condiments, like sugar and milk, that you add into your coffee,” says Dr Jiaxi Yang, the first author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at GloW.
Agrees Professor Cuilin Zhang, the lead researcher and director of the Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health (GloW). “More studies are needed to examine the roles of coffee consumption in the local context with significant health outcomes,” she says. The researchers plan to replicate the study in Asian populations.
Source: Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health ; Photo: Shutterstock
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