Some caffeinated drinks may reduce risk of diabetes and obesity – new study
Type 2 diabetes and obesity are often associated with each other. If someone is obese or overweight, they are at an increased risk of developing diabetes: about 80 percent of cases of type 2 diabetes are thought to be caused by a person’s weight. Thus, weight loss can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and in some cases even lead to remission.
But a new study has found that a certain type of drink can help reduce the risk of both obesity and type 2 diabetes.
A study published in BMJ Medicine found that high blood levels of caffeine can reduce a person’s body fat and risk of type 2 diabetes.
As a result of these findings, the researchers said the potential role of calorie-free caffeinated beverages in reducing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes is worth exploring.
Previously published studies have shown that drinking three to five cups of caffeine-rich coffee each day is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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However, these studies did not reveal any specific effects of caffeine from other compounds found in caffeinated beverages and foods, the researchers warn.
To overcome this, the researchers used Mendelian randomization to find out what effect higher blood levels of caffeine have on body fat and long-term risks of type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease.
Mendelian randomization is a technique that uses genetic variants to replace a specific risk factor—in this case blood caffeine levels—to generate genetic data to support a specific outcome—weight (BMI) and type 2 diabetes risk in this study.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied the role of two common genetic variants of the CYP1A2 and AHR genes in nearly 10,000 people.
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The CYP1A2 and AHR genes are associated with the rate of caffeine metabolism in the body.
Those with genetic variants associated with slower caffeine metabolism drink less coffee on average but have higher blood levels of caffeine than people who metabolize it rapidly to reach or maintain the levels needed for its stimulant effects.
The results showed that higher genetically predicted blood levels of caffeine were associated with lower weight (BMI) and body fat.
Higher genetically predicted blood levels of caffeine have also been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
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The Stockholm team then used Mendelian randomization to further explore the extent to which any effect of caffeine on type 2 diabetes risk could be mainly due to concomitant weight loss.
The results showed that weight loss accounted for almost half (43 percent) of the impact of caffeine on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
But there was no strong association between genetically predicted blood levels of caffeine and the risk of any of the cardiovascular outcomes studied.
The study states: “Our Mendelian randomization results suggest that caffeine may, at least in part, explain the inverse relationship between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk.
“Randomized controlled trials are needed to evaluate whether non-caloric caffeinated beverages may play a role in reducing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
The researchers noted that a daily intake of 100mg of caffeine is estimated to increase energy expenditure by about 100 calories per day, which may therefore reduce the risk of obesity.
However, the team acknowledged various limitations of their findings, including using only two genetic variants and only including people of European ancestry.
Drinks containing caffeine include:
- Carbonated drinks
- Hot chocolate
- Energetic drinks.
But to see the benefits reported in the study, you should consume caffeinated beverages that contain no sugar or calories.
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