Coffee is a subject of some contention in the health domain. People often receive contradictory advice regarding the consumption of this drink. While we are sometimes advised against drinking coffee, research has also shown that coffee has a range of potential health benefits. For instance, the antioxidants in coffee are believed to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals. Recently, new research has thrown light on the potential link between coffee and its role in decreasing the risk of certain diseases. According to a study published in the journal BMJ Medicine on 14 March 2023, calorie-free caffeinated drinks could reduce body weight and type 2 diabetes. However, further research is required.
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The study was undertaken by researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, Imperial College London, the University of Bristol, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. They used a statistical technique called Mendelian randomisation, which studies cause and effect using genetic evidence. For this study, the researchers considered 10,000 people (mainly of European descent) with genetic traits that are associated with the speed of caffeine metabolism in the body.
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Does this study prove that drinking more coffee will automatically help in weight loss and lower the risk of diabetes? No. It simply found that nearly half of the reduction in type 2 diabetes risk was driven by weight loss. Caffeine can help burn fat, boost metabolism and reduce appetite, which could play a role in this condition. Dr Dipender Gill, one of the senior authors of the study, specified that “Further clinical study is warranted before individuals should use these results to guide their dietary preferences.”
People with specific genetic traits metabolise caffeine slower and typically drink less coffee. But they have high levels of caffeine in their blood. The researchers found that such people tended to have a lower body mass index, body fat mass, and risk of Type 2 diabetes. The study noted that, in the past, observational studies have indicated that coffee consumption (3-5 cups daily) could be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, long-term studies are required to investigate this further.
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Dr Stephen Lawrence, an associate clinical professor at the University of Warwick’s medical school, said that the Mendelian assessment was a “relatively new technique” and was “vulnerable to bias,” The Guardian reported. The authors of the study have themselves admitted that their findings may not apply to non-European populations, as the study was limited to people of mainly European descent.
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.