More than a dozen major scientific studies have found heavy coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but researchers haven’t determined just why.
Now, a new study out of China suggests several compounds in coffee – not caffeine – appear to block a key process in the development of diabetes, and may lower the risk for java junkies.
Chinese scientists writing in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, said they have identified two categories of compounds in coffee that significantly affect the body’s processing of a substance called “human islet amyloid polypeptide” (hIAPP), which has been implicated in Type 2 diabetes.
Lead Researcher Ling Zheng, Kun Huang and colleagues said the compounds explain why coffee drinkers have a lower risk for developing diabetes.
"A beneficial effect may thus be expected for a regular coffee drinker," the researchers concluded.
Previous studies have found people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 50 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Drinking more coffee reduces the risk further.
Zheng’s research was partly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Basic Research Program of China and the Chinese Ministry of Education.