Decaf Coffee and Prediabetes, Relationship, Effects, Advice

Posted April 12, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Many of us relish our morning coffee, but if you’re in any danger of developing prediabetes, then is decaf coffee and prediabetes a combination worth considering?

In this article, we’ll outline the relationship between caffeine and the risk of diabetes and decaf coffee, other benefits, and what to do. Here is a summary to help get us started.

Decaf Coffee and Prediabetes? Decaf coffee removes the caffeine content and retains the beneficial properties of coffee for prediabetes. Although coffee, in general, lowers the risk of developing diabetes for prediabetes patients, caffeine can reduce insulin sensitivity. If decreased insulin sensitivity prolongs, then it’s easier to develop diabetes.

Before we begin getting into the topic fully, it’s important to get an idea of what prediabetes is. Then we will look at how caffeine influences prediabetes and understand the concept of decaf coffee.

Only through understanding prediabetes, it’s then possible to understand if decaf coffee and prediabetes have a healthy connection or not and what to do. So, let’s recap what prediabetes is.

What is prediabetes?

Decaf Coffee and prediabetes

In simple terms, prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.

Essentially, if you continue down the path you are on, then you will likely end up developing type 2 diabetes.

If individuals choose to make certain lifestyle changes, they can reverse the progression of prediabetes.

Prediabetes is also known as impaired fasting glucose – or – impaired glucose tolerance.  It is not a condition to be ignored, and prediabetes management is an important part of understanding and controlling this condition.

The majority of people with type 2 diabetes first began with prediabetes before fully developing their full diabetic condition.

Diagnosing prediabetes is often done through a glucose tolerance test. We recommend consulting your doctor, who can make the best judgment and offer you some indicative tests.

Effects of caffeine on prediabetes

Caffeine for most healthy individuals is considered safe and does not have an effect on blood sugar levels.

However, for those that have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, caffeine can cause worsen insulin resistance. This can cause those with prediabetes to see higher blood sugar levels, worsening their condition.

Insulin sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance. Those with prediabetes should strive to improve their insulin sensitivity as much as possible.

Insulin sensitivity dictates the efficacy at which your body handles glucose or blood sugar levels. The more sensitive it is the, more it’ll respond to any increase in your blood sugar levels.

What the caffeine in coffee does is increase adrenaline. This, in turn, increases lipolysis, which frees fatty acids from body fat.

When you drink coffee…

When you drink coffee, you get an increased sense of energy, partly because of the increasing availability of free fatty acids.

The downside to this is that when free fatty acids move around your body, your body will need to force your insulin sensitivity to be reduced.

With the reduction in insulin sensitivity, your cells cannot absorb as much sugar from the bloodstream.

This reduction in insulin sensitivity is particularly harmful to those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. However, most healthy individuals will not be affected by this.

If you are already in a prediabetic state and experience worsened insulin resistance due to caffeine consumption. There’s a potential that this can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Therefore, those with prediabetes may look to decaf coffee as an option

Should you stop drinking coffee?

There are some misconceptions regarding decaf coffee and prediabetes.

In decaf coffee, all other properties of coffee remain in place, except for the caffeine content.

Many people assume that decaf coffee isn’t actually coffee but a replication made without using coffee beans.

Therefore, this misconception implies that coffee may not be a good option for prediabetes.

To be clear on this, coffee, in general, is considered a safe option that can reduce your risk of developing diabetes if you have prediabetes.

Coffee has even shown benefits in lowering the risk of the following conditions:

  • Cancer – such as endometrial cancer and aggressive prostate cancer 
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Strokes 
  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Parkinson’s disease 

Most studies regarding coffee and diabetes indicated a notably lower risk of type 2 diabetes associated with coffee drinkers.

Studies in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

A 2014 study made by healthcare professionals in the US and UK concluded that those who increased their coffee consumption experienced an 11% reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

As such, if you’re thinking decaf coffee and prediabetes means no coffee at all, it may require some reconsideration.

If you’re thinking of giving up on coffee altogether because of its negative influence on insulin sensitivity, then you may be missing out on some real benefits.

Decaf coffee actually has the potential of saving you from developing diabetes and having to manage a diabetes lifestyle

So, in general terms, coffee consumption has a healthy relationship with prediabetes. However, caffeine content should be considered. Follow up with your doctor on how it will specifically affect you and your condition. Decaf coffee may be the safest option if you have any doubts.

Decaf coffee and prediabetes, is it just about the caffeine?

As mentioned earlier, coffee, in general, is good for lowering one’s risk of developing diabetes. But the caffeine content may complicate and negate these benefits.

So, it’s natural to ask if it’s just the caffeine – or are there any other properties that make decaf more beneficial over a regular caffeinated coffee.

Decaf Coffee and Prediabetes

For this purpose, a study looked specifically at whether caffeine alone and caffeinated coffee had the same effect on insulin resistance.

The study concluded that both pure caffeine and caffeinated coffee worsened insulin resistance, increasing blood sugar levels. However, the effect was reduced for caffeinated coffee.

Coffee does provide other protective compounds that can benefit prediabetes, but the caffeine content may interrupt the benefits. Let’s take a look at a couple of the main beneficial elements of coffee.

Benefits of coffee and decaf coffee

There are a number of natural health benefits that coffee can provide.

Polyphenols in coffee

Coffee contains polyphenols, which are molecules that have antioxidant properties.

This compound helps defend against inflammatory illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer (anticarcinogenic).

Minerals in coffee

Coffee also contains natural minerals like magnesium and chromium, which have been positively linked to lowering type 2 diabetes risk in those with prediabetes.

These protective properties exist in a decaf coffee as well.

Therefore, while the caffeine in coffee alone directly reduces insulin sensitivity, other coffee properties do provide positive effects.

So, decaf coffee is indeed the best option for prediabetes as it includes the full array of the benefits of coffee without some of the negative effects associated with caffeine in regular coffee.

Final thoughts

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of decaf coffee and prediabetes. If you have questions surrounding your specific condition, then consult your healthcare provider.



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