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Background

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It usually occurs in adults, but is increasingly seen in children and adolescents. In type 2 diabetes, there is a combination of inadequate production of insulin and an inability of the body to respond fully to insulin (insulin resistance). It is primarily influenced by lifestyle factors such as being overweight, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption.

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The association between coffee/caffeine consumption and diabetes is specific to type 2 diabetes only. For more information on the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, please refer to the media facts and figures section.

Facts and figures

Europe has one of the highest prevalences of diabetes as about 60 million people have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or about 10.3% of men and 9.6% of women aged 25 years and over1. It is estimated that this figure will reach 71 million by 20402.

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In Europe, diabetes (types 1 and 2 collectively) caused 627,000 deaths in 2015: about one quarter (26.3%) of those deaths were in people under the age of 60.  Estimates indicate that diabetes was responsible for 9% of total health expenditure in Europe in 2015, equivalent to USD 156 billion1.

Age is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes. In the Europe Region, 30.8% of the general population were aged between 50 and 79 in 2015 and this percentage is expected to increase to 35.6% by 20401.

Once a disease of old age, diabetes is now increasingly affecting adolescents and children and the highest increase is in the 30-40 year-old age group3.

The twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes already represent the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century. It is estimated that at least half of all diabetes cases would be eliminated if weight gain in adults could be prevented4.

For more information, see also: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/diabetes/data-and-statistics

Coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes

Several scientific studies show that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The association is documented in several different population groups and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases as coffee consumption increases5.

Research suggests that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to consuming none or less than 2 cups per day5-7. Every additional cup of coffee, up to 6-8 cups per day, is associated with a 5-10% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes5-7.

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The effect is observed with both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee6,7.

The mechanisms underlying the association between moderate coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes need further investigation.

It is unlikely that caffeine is responsible for the effect since consumption of decaffeinated coffee is also linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Recent research suggests that other coffee constituents, including as naturally-occurring antioxidants in coffee, may be involved.

References

1International Diabetes Federation, ‘Diabetes Atlas, 7th Edition’. Available at: http://www.diabetesatlas.org
2The World Health Organization, ‘Diabetes Data and Statistics’. Available at http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/diabetes/data-and-statistics
3Diabetes Prevention Forum, ‘A European Evidence-Based Guideline for the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes’. Available at: http://diabetespreventionforum.org/index.php/projects/6-image-project
4The International Diabetes Federation, ‘Diabetes & Obesity: Time to Act’. Available at: https://www.idf.org/sites/default/files/attachments/issue_23_en.pdf
5Huxley R. et al. (2009) Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Tea Consumption in Relation to Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169:2053-2063.
6Santos R.M. (2016) Coffee consumption, obesity and type 2 diabetes: a mini review. Eur J Nutr, 55(4): 1345-1358.
7Jiang X. et al. (2014) Coffee and caffeine intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. EJCN, 53(1): 25-38.

 

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