Can Coffee Keep You Slimmer and Disease-Free?

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Female doctor drinking coffee
Prathankarnpap /

Can the morning cup of coffee that wakes you up also keep you slimmer and healthier? New research suggests that tantalizing possibility.

People with higher blood caffeine levels may have lower body weight and a reduced risk for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the British Medical Association journal BMJ Medicine.

The weight loss itself was a major factor in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, accounting for 43% of that reduced risk, according to the researchers.

For the study, researchers used a statistical technique to investigate the role of common variations (known as variants) in two genes that are associated with how fast the body metabolizes caffeine (known as the CYP1A2 and AHR genes). Specifically, they looked at variants in these two genes in close to 10,000 people, primarily of European ancestry, who were taking part in long-term studies.

The researchers who conducted the study say their findings suggest the possibility of using calorie-free caffeinated drinks as a way to lower the risk of both obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Earlier research has found a link between drinking three to five cups of coffee a day and a lower risk of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the researchers note. However, their own study did not find a link between higher blood caffeine levels and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

A typical cup of coffee contains about 50 milligrams to 150 milligrams of caffeine.

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