July 5

Coffee consumption reduces risk for diabetes

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Add another study to the list showing that drinking coffee somehow wards of type II diabetes.
Scientists from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Harvard University report in the July 6, 2005 issue of JAMA that heavy coffee drinkers are somehow protected from developing type II diabetes.

The current meta-analysis of cohort studies supports a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. Participants who drank 4 to 6 cups and more than 6 to 7 cups of coffee per day had a 28% and 35% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those who drank less than 2 cups per day.

This study is not just a typical study reporting data from one trial, but is a meta-analysis of 15 studies total including 9 cohort studies.
The authors don’t offer a mechanism for the reduced risk, but do point out that coffee contains numerous substances—chlorogenic acid, quinides, and magnesium among them—the consumption of which have been shown to reduce the risk for diabetes.
A few years ago while traveling in Italy I had the best cup of coffee that I’d ever had. It was made by floating a couple of shots of espresso into a cup of steaming hot water. It’s called a Cafe Americano.
Europeans—especially Italians—don’t like American drip brewed coffee; they think it’s too weak. As a consequence, although they all have espresso makers, they don’t have drip coffee makers in their restaurants. When Americans, such as yours truly, want a cup of American coffee, they were pretty much out of luck. Somewhere along the way someone (God bless his or her heart) figured out that if you mix espresso in with hot water you can make a pretty good approximation of American coffee, and Cafe Americano was born.
In my opinion Cafe Americano is far superior to drip coffee for a number of reasons. First, the espresso has a much richer taste than regular drip coffee. Regular drip coffee that sits around in a pot gets easily burned and develops a crummy taste in fairly short order—no such problem with Cafe Americano as it is prepared fresh every time. Ditto for hotness—it’s always hot. And, espresso has only half the caffeine of regular coffee. Since espresso is so rich compared to regular drip coffee most people have made the erroneous assumption that it has more caffeine when it actually has much less.
The good news is that you can now get Cafe Americano at Starbucks and virtually all of the other coffee houses in the United States. It doesn’t cost much more than regular coffee, and unlike regular coffee (even, unfortunately, regular coffee at Starbucks occasionally) it’s always hot and fresh.
Or you can do like we did and buy an inexpensive espresso maker for the house. It’s a snap to use—even I can do it. And do do it, multiple times per day.
Drink up and help hold diabetes at bay.


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