Cutting down on caffeine could help people with the most common form of diabetes (which is closely linked to obesity) better control their blood sugar levels.


Giving caffeine to a small group of people with type 2 diabetes caused their levels of the blood sugar glucose to rise throughout the day, especially after meals, researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, found.


"Caffeine appears to disrupt glucose metabolism in a way that could be harmful to people with type 2 diabetes," James Lane, a Duke medical psychologist who led the study, said in a telephone interview.


The new findings seem to run counter to previous research regarding diabetes and caffeine. Earlier studies indicated that people who drank coffee had a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and those who drank the most coffee had the lowest risk.


The researchers used new technology a tiny glucose monitor embedded under the abdominal skin to monitor the glucose levels continuously.


On days when the participants were given four tablets containing caffeine equivalent to four cups of coffee, their average daily sugar levels rose eight percent compared to days when the same people were given four placebo tablets, the researchers reported in the journal Diabetes Care.


"This suggests that people with diabetes might want to avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages so that this exaggeration doesn't occur. They may find that it's easier for them to keep their glucose down if they avoid caffeine."


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