The Straits Times
Published on Nov 26, 2012

Caffeine-diabetes link still unresolved: Study


NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Sugary drinks are linked to a heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but a large US study that confirmed this shed little light on whether caffeine - suggested in past studies to have a link to sugar processing - helps or hinders.

Among more than 100,000 men and women followed for 22 years, those who drank sugar-sweetened drinks were as much as 23 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than those who didn't, but the risk was about the same whether the drinks contained caffeine or not, according to the study that appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"We found that caffeine doesn't make a difference at all," said lead author Frank Hu of Harvard University. "Coffee can be beneficial and the caffeine doesn't appear to have a positive or negative effect on diabetes risk."

Numerous past studies have linked regular consumption of soft drinks, both sugar- and artificially-sweetened, to an increased risk of diabetes. Research over the past decade has also suggested that caffeine temporarily prevents the body from processing sugar efficiently - a problem that those who live with diabetes deal with all the time.