if you usually drink coffee you’re in luck: a team of researchers has linked the caffeine consumption with a lower risk of diabetes and obesity. The chances of doing so are high, since every day 65.5 million breeds of coffee are consumed in our country, according to the Spanish Coffee Association. Of these, we consume 46.5 million at home and, both at home and in restaurants, we prefer that they contain caffeine: of every 100 coffees served in hotels, only 14 are decaffeinated compared to the 86 that do contain this substance. .
The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), considered proven at the genetic level that a high consumption of calorie-free caffeinated beverages could reduce body fat and, thus, reduce the risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes. This is a finding that various professionals have considered significant when it comes to “leading” the use of these drinks as a tool to prevent diseases.
The results have been provided by an international team led by Susan Larsson, from the Institute of Environmental Medicine of Stockholm University (Sweden). To prove her point, they focused on previously published research suggesting that drink three to five cups of coffee a day it was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Each of them would contain an average of 70-150 milligrams of caffeine.
The problem was that these were observational studies and it was difficult to establish whether the effects were due to caffeine or other compounds. The goal of Larsson’s team was thus to rigorously demonstrate this relationship. To do this they used a technique known as Mendelian randomization, which establishes cause and effect through genetic testing. In this way, the team discovered that there are two common genetic variants of the CYP1A2 and AHR genes associated with the speed with which caffeine is metabolized.
And so, people carrying genetic variants associated with a slower metabolism of caffeine drink less coffee on average. However, they have higher levels of caffeine in the blood than people who metabolize it quickly. The results showed that higher levels of caffeine in the blood are related to a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Almost 50% reduction in the risk of obesity
The study’s biggest finding was to reveal that weight loss reduced by almost half (43%) the risk of type 2 diabetes. The experiment involved nearly 10,000 people, predominantly of European ethnicity, during six long-term studies. Dr Stephen Lawrence, an associate clinical professor at the University of Warwick Medical School (unrelated to the study), told The Guardian that the study was “interesting” and used “good science”, but noted that the assessment Mendelian analysis was a “relatively new technique” and, while useful, was “vulnerable to bias”.
The researchers themselves stress the importance of conducting long-term clinical studies. But they emphasize that, previously, various studies have considered proven that caffeine consumption results in a reduction in body fat. And they emphasize: “Caffeine is known to stimulate metabolism, increase fat burning and reduces appetiteand it is calculated that a daily intake of 100 milligrams increases energy expenditure by about 100 calories up to date”.
In any case, they stress that the research is focused on showing possible health benefits for people with high levels of caffeine in their blood, but does not study or recommend drinking more coffee, since this “is not the objective of this investigation”. On the contrary, they explain that it may rather be a “justification” to carry out new trials that evaluate “whether non-caloric beverages that contain caffeine could play a critical role in reducing the risk of obesity and the type of associated diabetes”.