Drinking an Extra Cup of Coffee Might Help Lower Inflammation & Diabetes Risk, According to New Research

Find out how your blood sugar benefits from a little extra blonde roast.

For many Americans, the catchy slogan "the best part of waking up…" holds very true. More than 6 in 10 of us drink coffee daily, according to the National Coffee Association (NCA).

In addition to a roasty, cozy flavor and nutty aroma, those mugs come fully loaded with the many health benefits of coffee, including a good dose of antioxidants, some energy- and mood-boosting caffeine and lower risk for heart disease.

Last week, a new report published in the journal Clinical Nutrition gave us all the green light to consider sipping on one more serving than usual. According to this new coffee study, those who drink one extra cup of coffee per day may have 4% to 6% lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Read on to learn more about how they landed at this conclusion, discover the best coffee shop order to max out the benefits of your bonus beans, then study up on your complete healthy lifestyle strategy to slash risk for type 2 diabetes.

What This Type 2 Diabetes Study Found

Taking a cue from earlier research that linked drinking coffee with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, the scientists involved in this study wanted to dive deeper to try to determine why. To do so, they analyzed health data from 152,479 participants enrolled in the UK Biobank and the Rotterdam Study (two large prospective cohort studies involving citizens of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, respectively).

Looking back at self-reported figures, the researchers sorted the individuals by how much coffee they drank daily, from 0 to 6 cups. (The American average, for reference, is 3 cups per day, according to the NCA.) They also looked into whether each person developed type 2 diabetes over the course of the next 13 years.

Next, the scientists analyzed levels of specific hormones and biomarkers, which were measured via fasting blood samples. They specifically peeked at data points that they thought might help explain why coffee consumption might be linked to diabetes risk, including insulin resistance, C-reactive protein (CRP), leptin and adiponectin.

By comparing coffee intake with these statistics, the scientists believe that coffee may provide some anti-inflammatory benefits that relate to insulin resistance. By drinking one extra cup of coffee each day, each person had 4% to 6% lower risk for type 2 diabetes, on average. Those who had higher coffee consumption than the norm appeared to have lower levels of two pro-inflammatory markers—CRP and leptin—as well as higher levels of anti-inflammatory interleukin-13 and adiponectin.

a photo of a woman drinking a cup of coffee on a couch
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It's not just about the quantity, the scientists confirm. The type of coffee matters, too. Filtered black coffee and espresso were correlated with the largest benefits. The added sugar content of those whipped cream-topped, super-sweet coffee shop drinks will likely counteract any of the potential health benefits. (Psst…instead of asking for a macchiato or latte, order one of these 4 best low-sugar Starbucks drinks instead.)

The Bottom Line

Building on earlier research that suggests drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day could reduce risk for several chronic diseases, this new coffee study found that drinking one additional cup of coffee daily may help lower type 2 diabetes risk by about 5%. This is likely due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee, which affect blood glucose-related hormones.

While this is promising news for those who find themselves jonesing for java, more research is needed to confirm the findings among more diverse populations and over the lifespan.

It's also important to put this type 2 diabetes research into perspective. In the grand scheme of diabetes prevention strategies, a 4% to 6% risk differential is probably not nearly as impactful as other healthy lifestyle habits. For a comprehensive, diabetes risk-reducing lifestyle, aim to:

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