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Folks who need that morning cup of coffee to get going may be protecting themselves from type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. UCLA researchers wrote in the journal Diabetes last month that drinking four cups of coffee a day reduced women's chance of developing type 2 by a bit less than half. What's more, the scientists point to a specific reason why all that java has a beneficial effect: a protein known as sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Scientists have suspected for some time that SHBG was connected to diabetes development.
What about those coffee jitters? Folks hoping to cut their risk through this method may have to endure them. (Who knows? They may learn to love them.)
"Consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not significantly associated with SHBG levels, nor diabetes risk," said the study's lead author, Atsushi Goto of the University of California, Los Angeles. "So you probably have to go for the octane."
This isn't the first study looking at diabetes and coffee consumption. Past work has produced conflicting results, so you may want to weigh the data before mainlining Starbucks.
An Archives of Internal Medicine paper from 2006 showed that women who drank decaffeinated coffee had the most protection from type 2 diabetes (they were 22 percent less likely to develop it). Those who drank the regular stuff also received some protection, the earlier study said, but not as much.
Other studies have cast doubt on coffee itself, suggesting that the beverage makes it harder for the body to break down sugar.
The UCLA study looked at 359 postmenopausal women with new cases of type 2 diabetes and compared them with 359 women who didn't have the disease but were otherwise similar. In addition to the researchers from UCLA, scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School contributed to the study.