Your Cart is Empty

Type 2 diabetics: Beware the risks of caffeine

by Mark Miller 4 min read

Caffeine and diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes should take care not to start ingesting caffeine if their body is not used to the stimulant. The caffeine can interfere with the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels at a normal level.

It can be hard to avoid caffeine if you drink coffee, tea, energy drinks, or eat chocolate. It is in all those comestibles and more.

But it's important for people with type 2 diabetes to know that caffeine can actually raise blood sugar levels.

WebMd says a growing body of research has found this effect [1]:

One study looked at people with type 2 diabetes who took a 250-milligram caffeine pill at breakfast and another at lunchtime. That’s about the same amount as drinking two cups of coffee with each meal. The result: Their blood sugar was 8% higher than on days when they didn’t have caffeine. Their reading also jumped by more after each meal.

The increase in blood sugar was a result of how their bodies responded to insulin, a hormone that lets sugar into your cells, where it changes into energy.

Scientists speculate that the caffeine lowers the body's sensitivity to insulin, meaning the hormone is not as effective as it once was. The cells don't absorb as much sugar from the blood after eating or drinking. To compensate, the body creates more insulin, which raises its level after your meals.

It's a double whammy because the body already uses insulin poorly, and blood sugar rises higher than it should. Caffeine might make this worse and make it hard to reduce blood sugar to healthy levels.

In time, the complications of diabetes, like heart disease or nerve damage, could become worse from the higher blood sugar induced by caffeine consumption.

Why does caffeine raise blood sugar?

Researchers are still studying why caffeine might raise blood sugar and cause more insulin production. Their research has led to tentatively conclude:

  • Caffeine may raises the levels of adrenaline and other stress hormones. Adrenaline can reduce the amount of sugar that your cells process, and it keep the body from producing the normal amount of insulin
  • Caffeine blocks production of a protein, adenosine, which helps the body produce insulin and regulates how your cells respond to the insulin.
  • Caffeine affects some people's sleep patterns, causing them to get less sleep. Sleep deprivation is suspected of lowering sensitivity to insulin.

How much caffeine is too much?

For diabetics, it takes about 200 mg of caffeine to increase your blood sugar levels. That's the same as 1 or 2 cups of coffee or 3 or 4 cups of tea. But the amount of caffeine that triggers the reaction in diabetics could be more or less depending on your weight and age.

WebMd says:

How much caffeine you usually get may also play a role. People with diabetes who are regular coffee drinkers don’t have higher blood sugar levels than those who aren’t. Some experts think your body gets used to that amount of over time. But other research shows that caffeine could still cause a spike, even if you always start your day with a cup of joe.

WebMd advises speaking to your doctor and testing your blood for sugar throughout the morning after you take caffeine. Then skip the caffeine for a few days, test your blood, and compare the results to see if caffeine is affecting your sugar levels.

Dr. Oz explains that he believes diabetes can be reversed.

Regular coffee drinking may prevent diabetes!

The funny thing is, regular coffee consumption might result in lowers odds of getting type 2 diabetes because of all the antioxidants. The antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can increase a person's chance of getting diabetes.

WebMd concludes:

If you already have type 2 diabetes, this may not hold true. The caffeine in a cup of java makes it tougher to control your blood sugar. If yours spikes after your morning cup, you may want to switch to decaf. Even though this drink has a tiny amount of caffeine, it doesn’t have the same effect on your blood sugar or insulin.

A study at Harvard tracked more than 100,000 people over 20 years [4]. The study says it found 7,269 cases of type 2 diabetes. Subjects who increased coffee drinking by more than 1 cup per day over a 4-year period had an 11% lower risk of type 2 than those whose coffee consumption did not change.

Further, "Participants who decreased their coffee intake by more than 1 cup/day ... had a 17% higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Changes in tea consumption were not associated with type 2 diabetes risk."

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Some of the signs of diabetes are fatigue, thirstiness, unexplained weight loss, and irritability. If you notice any of these, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor.

Diabetes is an important topic because about 34 million Americans have it. Another 88 million Americans have pre-diabetes, meaning their blood sugar is too high and they are at risk for getting the disease [2].

The disease interferes with how you process blood sugar or blood glucose, the stuff that fuels your brain, tissues, organs and muscles. It happens when you have too much sugar in your blood because your body has become resistant to insulin and unable to take glucose into your cells efficiently [3].


[1] https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-and-caffeine

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/coffee-s-effect-diabetes#diabetes

[4] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-014-3235-7

Also in Viter Energy Blog

Does caffeine help with ED?
Can caffeine help with ED?

by Mark Miller 3 min read

Erectile dysfunction. In combination, those are two of the ugliest words known to man. But can caffeine help you get it up?

Science hasn't found the definitive answer to this question, but one study concluded that fewer men who consume caffeine have problems performing. The study said:

Caffeine intake reduced the odds of prevalent ED, especially an intake equivalent to approximately 2-3 daily cups of coffee (170-375 mg/day). This reduction was also observed among overweight/obese and hypertensive, but not among diabetic men. Yet, these associations are warranted to be investigated in prospective studies

Read More
Breastfeeding and caffeine
Caffeine while breastfeeding? Go ahead, it's OK

by Mark Miller 4 min read

Many breastfeeding mothers wonder if it's OK to take caffeine. In fact, many nursing mothers just avoid caffeine in case it would keep their babies fussy, jittery and awake.

The answer is yes, you can take caffeine while breastfeeding, as long as you don't go over about 300 mg a day.

It's an important question because caffeine is in so many products, and taking coffee, tea, or soda is such a common ritual.

And breastfeeding mothers may be tempted to take caffeinated products because they are deprived of sleep by their newborns' odd sleep schedule.

Read More
Benefits of gum
The surprising benefits of chewing gum

by Mark Miller 5 min read

You might think gum chewing is an activity with little or no benefits besides the pleasure and flavor, but think again. Chewing gum has several benefits.

In addition to freshening your breath, sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities and contribute to overall oral health. But that's just the beginning.

Read More