Coffee and doughnuts: double-trouble for diabetes risk

Mysterious protective effects of coffee against diabetes have been reported in the past.  A 2010 meta-analysis analyzing data from 18 studies reported that each additional cup of coffee consumed per day was associated with a 7% reduction in risk of diabetes.1  This was surprising, especially because coffee consumption has been shown to raise glucose levels after a meal so you would expect it to worsen diabetes, not help it.  However, this is true of both decaffeinated and regular coffee, although regular coffee raises blood glucose more than decaf.2 

The reason for the decreased diabetes risk remains uncertain, but since coffee comes from a darkly colored bean, it is likely that antioxidants, minerals, or other phytochemicals present in coffee may be responsible for the long term benefits seen in the observational studies.3 With this in mind, we must also remember that almost all of the subjects in the observational studies were eating the standard American diet and therefore starving for antioxidants and phytochemicals. 

Is the standard American diet so nutrient-poor that a significant portion of people’s phytochemical intake comes from their morning coffee? 

It’s likely. Additional studies support this possibility. One observational study of 28,000 postmenopausal women actually found that decaffeinated coffee was more protective than regular coffee – which suggests that the caffeine in coffee might be increasing risk, while the phytochemicals decrease risk.4 Chlorogenic acid and trigonelline, two of the major phytochemicals in coffee, have been shown to decrease blood glucose and insulin concentrations in the blood compared to placebo after ingesting sugar, so these phytochemicals likely increase insulin sensitivity.5  It is doubtful that coffee would offer any additional protection on top of a nutrient dense diet - the responsible phytochemicals can be obtained from other plant foods and the diet would not be so lacking in antioxidants.  For example, blueberries contain the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, and the phytoestrogen trigonelline is also found in peas, lentils, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. 6-8  The only reason coffee is beneficial is because of the severe deficiencies in the plant-derived phytochemicals in the diet of most Americans, and coffee at least supplies something.  

New research has found something that makes the insulin desensitizing effects of caffeine even worse - ingesting caffeine with a high-fat meal.

High-fat meals are another factor known to impair glucose tolerance, and saturated fat consumption causes the body to produce inflammatory molecules that contribute to insulin resistance.9  This study demonstrated caffeine consumption and a high-fat meal had additive insulin desensitizing effects, and this did  not merely raise the blood glucose - but also when the insulin doesn’t work well the body has to make more of it, and higher insulin causes weight gain and increases cancer risk.10-12 When subjects ingested a high-fat meal followed by a sugary drink, and blood glucose levels were 32% higher compared to subjects who had water in place of the high-fat meal.  In the second part of the study, subjects were given two cups of caffeinated coffee in addition to the high-fat meal and sugary beverage – this time, blood glucose was even higher – 65% higher than the subjects who had only water before the sugary drink.13  Apparently, coffee can have good or bad effects on insulin depending on whether it is consumed with high fat animal products or not.

The message here is that coffee can be both good and bad, but its powerful addictive qualities, with the potential for withdrawal headaches and to increase blood pressure should make people cautious;14-16 the most likely risks are almost never mentioned in news reports.  I do not think anyone should rely on coffee to protect themselves against diabetes.  If you do choose to drink coffee, stick to water-processed (non-chemical) decaf, and of course skip the doughnuts!

 

References:

1. Huxley R, Lee CM, Barzi F, et al: Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:2053-2063.

2. Greenberg JA, Owen DR, Geliebter A: Decaffeinated coffee and glucose metabolism in young men. Diabetes Care 2010;33:278-280.

3. Tunnicliffe JM, Shearer J: Coffee, glucose homeostasis, and insulin resistance: physiological mechanisms and mediators. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2008;33:1290-1300.

4. Pereira MA, Parker ED, Folsom AR: Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: an 11-year prospective study of 28 812 postmenopausal women. Arch Intern Med 2006;166:1311-1316.

5. van Dijk AE, Olthof MR, Meeuse JC, et al: Acute effects of decaffeinated coffee and the major coffee components chlorogenic acid and trigonelline on glucose tolerance. Diabetes Care 2009;32:1023-1025.

6. Zheng W, Wang SY: Oxygen radical absorbing capacity of phenolics in blueberries, cranberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2003;51:502-509.

7. Rozan P, Kuo YH, Lambein F: Nonprotein amino acids in edible lentil and garden pea seedlings. Amino Acids 2001;20:319-324.

8. Sanchez-Hernandez L, Puchalska P, Garcia-Ruiz C, et al: Determination of trigonelline in seeds and vegetable oils by capillary electrophoresis as a novel marker for the detection of adulterations in olive oils. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2010;58:7489-7496.

9. Wen H, Gris D, Lei Y, et al: Fatty acid-induced NLRP3-ASC inflammasome activation interferes with insulin signaling. Nat Immunol 2011.

10. Bowker SL, Majumdar SR, Veugelers P, et al: Increased cancer-related mortality for patients with type 2 diabetes who use sulfonylureas or insulin. Diabetes Care 2006;29:254-258.

11. Davies M, Gupta S, Goldspink G, et al: The insulin-like growth factor system and colorectal cancer: clinical and experimental evidence. Int J Colorectal Dis 2006;21:201-208.

12. Harish K, Dharmalingam M, Himanshu M: Study Protocol: insulin and its role in cancer. BMC endocrine disorders 2007;7:10.

13. Beaudoin MS, Robinson LE, Graham TE: An oral lipid challenge and acute intake of caffeinated coffee additively decrease glucose tolerance in healthy men. J Nutr 2011;141:574-581.

14. Giggey PP, Wendell CR, Zonderman AB, et al: Greater Coffee Intake in Men Is Associated With Steeper Age-Related Increases in Blood Pressure. Am J Hypertens 2010.

15. Noordzij M, Uiterwaal CS, Arends LR, et al: Blood pressure response to chronic intake of coffee and caffeine: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hypertens 2005;23:921-928.

16. James JE: Critical review of dietary caffeine and blood pressure: a relationship that should be taken more seriously. Psychosom Med 2004;66:63-71.

Caffeine is No Better Than a Drug

As you know, caffeine is one of the most addictive substances in a standard diet, and there is some research that indicates that excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages may pose a risk to your well-being. Coffee, however, does contain chlorogenic acid, a phenol with strong antioxidant activity which may benefit people who hardly eat vegetables. So in spite of hundreds of studies showing slight increased risk of certain diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease, there are also studies that show certain health benefits from coffee.1 Overall, both the risks and the supposed benefits are marginal either way. One or two cups of coffee per day is not likely to cause significant disease risks.

Besides the slightly increased risk of osteoporosis or heart disease, there are other problems. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it enables you to more comfortably get by on less sleep, and inadequate sleep promotes disease and premature aging.2 Drinking coffee also boosts estrogen levels, which worsens problems like endometriosis, breast pain, and menstrual disorders. Increased estrogen levels are also linked to higher risk of breast cancer.3 Overall, it is difficult to discern the precise risks from heavy coffee drinking because most people who drink lots of coffee, do lots of other unhealthy behaviors too.

My main objection to drinking coffee is that it may promote more frequent eating and a higher calorie intake in some people, so eliminating your caffeine intake may help you lose weight. Coffee drinkers—and tea and cola drinkers—are drawn to eat more frequently then necessary. They eat extra meals and snacks because they mistake unpleasant caffeine withdrawal symptoms with hunger. They can’t tell the difference between true hunger and the discomfort that accompanies caffeine withdrawal.

In essence, coffee is mostly like a drug, not a food. In spite of the presence of some beneficial antioxidants it also has some negative effects and withdrawal symptoms that may fuel drinking and eating behavior. Like most drugs, it could have some minor benefits, but its toxic effects and resultant risks likely overwhelm those minor advantages. It is best if we aim to meet our nutritional needs with as little exposure to stimulating substances as possible. This program will work more effectively, as you will be better connected to your body’s true hunger signals if you are able to gradually reduce and eventually eliminate coffee and other caffeine-containing substances.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Melita A, Jain AC, Mehta MC, Billie M. Caffeine and cardiac arrhythmias, An experimental study in dogs with review of literature. Acta Cardiol 1997;52(3):273-283. Nurminen MI, Niittymen L, Retterstol I, et al. Coffee, caffeine, and blood pressure: a critical review. Eur J Clin Nutr 1999;53(11):831-839. Christensen B, Mosdol A, Retterstol I, et al. Abstention from filtered coffee reduces the concentration of plasma homocysteine and serum cholesterol-a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74(3):302-307. Higdon JV, Frei B. Coffee and health: a review of recent human research.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006; 46(2):101-123. Hallström H, Wolk A, Glynn A, Michaëlsson K. Coffee, tea and caffeine consumption in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk in a cohort of Swedish women.Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(7):1055-1064.

2. Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter EV. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet 1999;354(9188);1435-1439.

3. Lucero J, Harlow BI, Berbieri RI, et al. Early follicular phase hormone levels in relation to patterns of alcohol, tobacco and coffee use. Fertile Steril 2001;76(4):723-729.

Teenagers Up Late and Wired on Caffeine

A new study in the journal Pediatrics found many teenagers are wigged out on caffeine and up late surfing the web, texting their friends and watching television. Experts surveyed 100 kids, ages 12 to 18 years old, finding only one in five participants got 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, one third of kids reported falling asleep in school and teens multitasking with all their gadgets were more likely to risk poor academic performance. Average caffeine consumption among participants was 215 mg a day, roughly two espressos; Reuters reports.

Caffeine is a toxin and like a drug it can cause uncomfortable detoxification symptoms, leading to poor diet and food addiction. It also heightens risk of cardiovascular disease by hardening arties and raising blood pressure and last year, caffeine was linked to miscarriage risk.

In related news, Germany banned Red Bull after finding trace amounts of cocaine in test samples and officials in the United States have already called for warning labels on energy drinks.

Image credit: caro77

Red Bull All Coked Up...

Red Bull might give you wings, but apparently it might also give you the frantic energy you need to build a barn at 2 o’clock in the morning. German authorities report finding trace of amounts of cocaine in Red Bull energy drinks. As a result, Red Bull is now banned in Germany. Official testing revealed 0.4 micrograms of booger sugar per liter of the drink. Experts say the dose was too small to do harm and Red Bulls insists the drink is harmless; the Associated Press reports.

Energy drinks are hardly harmless. They are high in caffeine and caffeine is a stimulant, which allows you to get by with less sleep, but lack of sleep promotes disease and premature aging. And recently, coffee was linked to shrinking breasts and even hallucinations. Eek!

Last year, an Australian study determined drinking Red Bull, as little as one can, can increase your risk of stroke. Even still, Red Bull managed to sell 3.5 billion cans in 143 countries in 2008.

Image credit: Jetekus

Coffee in Pregnancy Increases Cleft Lip Risk

Cleft lip is a fissure causing a gap in the top lip and findings of a new study in American Journal of Epidemiology reveal drinking coffee during pregnancy slightly ups the risk of cleft lip or harelip. Experts compared data on 573 women who had babies with cleft lip and 763 women whose kids did not. Women drinking a daily cup of coffee during the first 3 months of pregnancy were 1.39 times more likely to have a baby with harelip and the likelihood increased to 1.59 for women who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day; Reuters reports.

Sometimes I have a cup of coffee. Luckily I can’t get pregnant. Coffee, i.e. caffeine, isn’t healthy. Drinking coffee has been shown to double arthritis risk, raise blood pressure and disturb heart function. Caffeine is a toxin, which can cause headaches, anxiety and detox symptoms similar to coming off drugs.

Recently, a study showed women drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day had 17% smaller breasts. Oh, and instant coffee can make you hallucinate. Far out man.

Image credit: annia316

America's Energy Crisis

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Wharton of HealthandMen and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

Is there ever going to be a point where we stop seeing the walls of energy drinks and energy shots at our convenient stores? When I was in my late teens and early 20 there wasn't any Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star drinks. There was only Jolt Cola. Jolt was just like any other cola, except they claimed that it packed more caffeine and more sugar than your average Pepsi. If I was about to embark on a long drive from Quantico, Virginia to upstate, New York I would grab one or two of these for the road. I wasn't much of a coffee drinker back then and Jolt Cola was my pick-me-up when I had to make long trips home. The downfall with caffeine and sugar was the crash. I would often get about 6 hours in to the trip and suddenly start to feel the crash. By the time I got home I would be either be wiped clean of any energy I had.

Truck stops used to have the plastic cases next to or behind the counter loaded with little bottles of mini-thins and similar products. They were Ephedrine or Ephedra based stimulants that were not the healthiest stimulant but then again loading up on caffeine and sugar isn't either. People started dying from overuse of ephedra and the United States took action against ephedrine because of the Meth epidemic. That's the reason you have to go to the pharmacy to get anything with ephedrine in it like Sudafed. The most you see in them now are Stackers and other caffeine, guarana and ginseng products.

These days the energy shots and drinks are still loaded with caffeine, sugar and extra vitamins. We know too much caffeine is bad for your heart and too much sugar is never a good thing for the human body, but what about the vitamins? Vitamins are good, right? That's what we're told as children. People don't know nearly enough about vitamins except for what they might hear on television and rarely do their own research. Naturally if you're told by some random person on TV that B Vitamins are good for you, then you're bound to believe that. Granted, B Vitamins are good for you and B vitamin deficiencies are, well, not good.

The funny thing that people fail to understand when they buy the energy shots like 6 Hour Energy and equivalent products is that most of that vitamin B that is supposed to give you all that energy is just going to waste. If you eat properly you get plenty of vitamin B and there really isn't much need for more. Either way, your body will get rid of any excess water soluble vitamins that it doesn't need and has no need to absorb and pees out. People that take a vitamin B supplement often know how well their body is absorbing it by the color of their urine. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 will tend to make your urine a bright yellow color.

Marketing is an amazing thing because people are so easily manipulated by things that help make day-to-day life more convenient. Fat burning pills, energy supplements and anything else that helps cope with the stress of work or life in general. When you're tired you're tired. There is no other way around it and your body needs rest. No matter how much energy supplements you take, it can not substitute the rejuvenating effect your body gets from a good night sleep. Sometimes you have to slow down, take it easy and let Mother Nature do her thing.

Image credit: Hotash

VitaminWater Gets Sued!

Quite frankly, I think energy drinks are stupid. And apparently so do consumer groups. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola, producers of VitaminWater, for making undeserving claims about their product, such as preventing chronic disease and supporting immune system function. CSPI points out that VitaminWater’s 33 grams of sugar in each bottle promotes obesity, diabetes and other health problems and the advertising is misleading; via Reuters.

Other “health” and energy drinks have also drawn heavy scrutiny. A couple years ago, a whacked out beverage called “cocaine” was pulled from stores and Red Bull, which has been linked to stroke risk, has been bashed for its dangerous caffeine load and marketing to children.

I’ve noticed that some of the unhealthiest looking people are the ones chugging down these drinks.

Image credit: preciouskhyatt

Instant Coffee is Far Out, Causes Hallucinations...

Old hippies and frat boys will love this. A new study in Personality and Individual Differences claims people drinking 7 or more cups of instant coffee a day were 3 times more likely to hallucinate; psychotic experiences such as seeing ghosts and hearing voices. However, experts have their doubts, but, and this is really freaky, according to the report, 3% of people regularly hear voices; via BBC News.

Now, if hallucinating wasn’t bad enough! Previous research reveals daily coffee intake can actually shrink women’s breasts, 3 cups of coffee per day resulted in an average breast size 17% smaller than women who drank under 3 cups a day. Going insane and small boobies, sounds like a nightmare!

And other dangers of coffee, i.e. caffeine, consumption include heightened risk of osteoporosis, miscarriage and heart disease. So, is that morning pick-me-up really worth it? Probably not.

Image credit: javaturtle