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Can a Type 2 Diabetic Drink Coffee?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Can a Type 2 Diabetic Drink Coffee?
A steaming cup of black coffee Photo Credit Andrea Carolina Sanchez Gonzalez/iStock/Getty Images

If you have Type 2 diabetes, your primary focus is to avoid sugary foods and beverages so you can control your blood sugar. Regular coffee contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrates, and most diabetics can include coffee as part of a well-balanced diet, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, while the carbohydrate content poses little harm, the caffeine in coffee may be of concern, according to clinical data. Your doctor can help you determine whether you can have coffee and how much.

Caffeine May Affect How Your Body Handles Carbs

A study published in the August 2004 issue of the journal "Diabetes Care" examined how acute caffeine consumption affects carbohydrate metabolism in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The team found that when Type 2 diabetics took caffeine with a meal containing carbohydrates, it caused an exaggeration in glucose and insulin response, impairing glucose metabolism. In a similar study published in the May 2008 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," the team found that drinking caffeinated coffee with 75 grams of glucose causes acute insulin insensitivity.

But Then Again, It May Not

More studies are needed to determine what effect caffeine in coffee has on people with Type 2 diabetes. Both studies used caffeine equivalent to more than one cup of coffee and only analyzed acute effects, which doesn't account for the adaptations the body makes over time in response to regular caffeine consumption. People who consume caffeine from coffee regularly, in between meals or in lower amounts may not experience the same response demonstrated in the studies.

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