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Coffee Linked to Increased Risk of Prediabetes in some Adults

Update Date: Sep 02, 2014 09:27 AM EDT

For a lot of people, drinking coffee is a necessity in the morning. Several studies have found that coffee consumption in moderation can be beneficial for one's health. However, in a recent study, researchers found that for some young adults with risk factors, particularly, hypertension (high blood pressure), drinking too much coffee can increase their risk of prediabetes.

"As type 2 diabetes often develops in hypertensive patients at a later stage, in the present study we examined the long term effect of coffee drinking on the risk of developing prediabetes in the participants of HARVEST, a prospective longitudinal study of young subjects screened for stage 1 hypertension," Dr. Lucio Mos from Italy said according to the press release.

Prediabetes occurs when the body's blood sugar level is above normal but has not passed the level to be considered type 2 diabetes. People with this health condition have a greater risk of developing the chronic illness. In this HARVEST (Hypertension and Ambulatory Recording Venetia Study) study, the team examined 1,180 participants between the ages of 18 and 45 who had stage one hypertension but did not have diabetes.

The researchers screened for an enzyme called CYP1A2 responsible for metabolizing caffeine. They found that 42 percent of the people were fast metabolizers and 58 percent were slow ones. Overall, 74 percent of all the participants drank coffee. Out of this group, 87 percent of them drank one to three cups of coffee per day, which was considered to be moderate. 13 percent fell in the heavy group and drank more than three cups per day.

During the follow up of 6.1 years, 24 patients developed prediabetes. The researchers calculated that moderate drinkers had a 34 percent increased risk of prediabetes when compared to people who did not drink coffee. Heavy drinkers were two times more likely than nondrinkers to get prediabetes. The team noted that the link between coffee consumption and prediabetes was greater if the participants were overweight or obese. They added that the link was also only significant in people who were grouped as slow metabolizers.

"Our study shows that drinking coffee increases the risk of prediabetes in young adults with hypertension who are slow caffeine metabolizers. Slow caffeine metabolizers are exposed for a longer time to the detrimental effects of caffeine on glucose metabolism. Thus, the effect of coffee on prediabetes depends on two factors, the amount of daily coffee intake and the individual's genetic background," Dr. Mos said. "Young-to-middle-age people with hypertension should be aware that coffee consumption may increase their risk of developing diabetes in later life."

The study's findings were presented at the ESC Congress.

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