Science and Technology
By Sara Knoll, Contributing Writer
While walking around college campuses or around New York City during the morning bustle to class or work, one beverage can be found in many hands: coffee. Coffee has been the battery for teenagers and adults to function properly throughout the day and many studies have shown that drinking coffee in reasonable quantities can be beneficial to our health.
Throughout the years, coffee has been considered a possible carcinogen, but also a beverage with multiple health benefits. Coffee was not only labelled a carcinogen, but was blamed for early mortality, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr. Donald Hensrud from the Mayo Clinic, “[…]some studies have found an association between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality.” He also addresses the sudden change in the perception of coffee as it relates to health and says that earlier research didn’t take into account that smoking and lack of exercise were very common among heavy coffee drinkers, which could have been the reason why there was a prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.
Another study regarding the relationship between coffee consumption and the development of Type 2 diabetes was mentioned in an article by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. In this study, researchers discovered that drinking caffeinated coffee on a regular basis can decrease the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Coffee is rich in polyphenols, which are nutrients derived from plant-based foods and are full of antioxidants and magnesium, which are needed in order to stabilize glucose levels. Therefore, drinking coffee can improve the metabolism of glucose in the body and act as a preventative factor of Type 2 diabetes.
Harvard’s article addresses a study conducted over twenty years in which 45,335 people with Type 2 diabetes were studied to see if there was a correlation between the number of cups of coffee consumed and developing Type 2 diabetes. It was concluded that drinking one cup of coffee decreased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 8%, while drinking six cups of coffee a day decreased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 33%. Another study showed that there was a 10% higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes while drinking the same amount of decaffeinated coffee a day compared to caffeinated coffee. This suggests that drinking caffeinated coffee decreases the likelihood of Type 2 diabetes.
Of course, all of this information is assuming that a reasonable amount of coffee is consumed; reasonable meaning 3-5 8 ounce cups per day. While moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee can lead to a higher level of staying focused on tasks, alertness, and general energy, too much caffeine consumption can cause increased heart rate, anxiety and general restlessness. Furthermore, the amount of milk, sugars and artificial sweeteners added could also decrease some of the health benefits coffee has to offer. But as long as you don’t add too much sugar, your coffee addiction could be justified!