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Q: What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
A: Both types of diabetes are characterised by high blood sugar levels, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.
- Type 1 diabetes is a disease of the pancreas, which results in very little, or no insulin being produced. It is partly inherited and usually develops when the person is a child or young adult.
- Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood and is primarily influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and physical activity. In type 2 diabetes, the target tissues for insulin (muscle, liver and fat-tissue) become insensitive or resistant to the action of insulin. This means that more insulin is needed in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Q: Is coffee suitable for people with diabetes?
A: Yes, coffee is suitable for people with diabetes. According to scientific research, drinking moderate amounts of coffee has no adverse effects for people with diabetes1.
Q: Does coffee have any benefits for individuals with diabetes?
A: Research has shown that a modest amount of caffeine, equivalent to two or three cups of coffee a day, can make people with type 1 diabetes more aware that they are about to have a hypoglycaemic episode (low blood sugar)2. This ‘warning sign’ can help them to take preventative action.
Q: Can coffee lower the risk of diabetes?
A: Recent research suggests that drinking moderate amounts of coffee is linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes; and the risk is lower with increasing coffee consumption up to 6-8 cups a day3.
Q: How much coffee do I need to drink to see a benefit?
A: Research has shown an effect with 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day3. However, those sensitive to caffeine should check with their doctor or nurse to establish a level of consumption that is appropriate.
Q: Do all types of coffee have the same effect?
A: Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees are linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Q: How does coffee reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
A: The simple answer is that we are not sure yet. Several hypotheses have been put forward and further research into the possible mechanism of action is currently being conducted at several research centres.
Q: Are the benefits of coffee down to caffeine?
A: Since decaffeinated coffee has similar effects to regular coffee, it is unlikely that caffeine plays a role. Other constituents of coffee, including naturally occurring antioxidants, are currently being investigated to establish whether they contribute to the reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes