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October 2019
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Bad News for Diabetes Sufferers

Caffeine in Coffee Another Reason to Reduce Caffeine Intake  

Diabetes has been in the news a lot lately and even with diabetes, the bad news seems to come in threes.  After the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in dramatic fashion in game 5 of the NBA Finals, Ray Allen, Boston’s surefire shooting guard, quickly left the Staples Center to attend to the health concerns of 

his toddler son, just recently diagnosed with Type I diabetes.  After the untimely death of Tim Russert, NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of Meet the Press, it was revealed by doctors after his autopsy that one of his pre-existing conditions was Type II diabetes.  And now, according to researchers from Duke University Medical School, caffeine intake may cause a dramatic increase in blood sugar amongst diabetics.

While I am not an advocate of caffeine intake and believe it to be a highly addictive stimulant that’s overused and abused by far too many, I understand fully that it is used by a majority of Americans.  It therefore saddens me that this news gives diabetics just one more thing to worry about, as if they didn’t have enough to worry about already (i.e. typical concerns include:  what things are OK and not OK to eat or drink, being able to check blood-sugar levels, worrying about having enough insulin, should one need an injection, while travelling or enjoying time away from home, etc.).

Published in the medical journal Diabetes Care, the Duke researchers wrote about their results after observing and testing 10 people with Type II diabetes.  During the first day of the test, these 10 participants were given a caffeine pill,  the caffeine content of the pill equaling what the caffeine content of four cups of coffee (roughly 532 mg, assuming the cup of coffee is 8 oz and the caffeine content is 133 mg per 8 oz cup).  The next day, the participants were given a placebo.  The researchers then tested the blood sugar levels of the participants on both days to see if their blood sugar levels increased or decreased.

While there was no rise in blood sugar levels among the participants when given the placebo, blood sugar levels increased an average of 8 percent when taking the caffeine pill.  The rise was even more pronounced when the pill was taken after meals – a 26 percent rise after eating dinner!

What explains the increase?  At this point, researchers can’t be sure.  They theorize that blood sugar levels may be rising because of caffeine stimulating the body’s adrenaline levels (this is a pretty good theory, seeing as how many bodybuilding supplements contains a stimulant like caffeine for precisely that purpose).  Another potential explanation of the study’s researchers is that the caffeine is interfering with the liver, the organ of the body that helps remove glucose from the blood by turning it into glycogen. 

As with all research, more needs to be done before anything definitive conclusions can be reached. 

In the meantime, while this is certainly bad news for diabetics who have become reliant on caffeine as a pick me up or as a means to treating a pounding headache, it may prove to be good news in the long run.  For one, it may help to explain why one’s blood sugar levels have been rising, which before this study may have been unclear.  And secondly, it may be just the incentive one needs to help kick the caffeine habit – the alternative being diabetic ketoacidosis. 

So, while diabetes continue to be in the news and be among those making news, perhaps its newsworthiness can be used for good in that diabetes sufferers can make an extra effort in reducing caffeine intake.  Granted, to do so is sure to be unpleasant among those who’ve come to rely on caffeine, but the alternative could be far worse.

Related Posts

  1. Natural Plant Demonstrates Benefits for Treating Diabetes
  2. Antioxidant Shown to be Effective in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Concludes
  3. Dangers of Diabetes Drugs
  4. New Diabetes Drug “Comes At A Price”…
  5. Black Soy Beans Shown to Lower Diabetes Risk, Study Finds

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