New research reveals how coffee and tea can affect risk of early death for adults with diabetes

The study found that those who drank more than four cups of coffee, tea or water a day had a 33 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.Drinking more coffee, tea, and water can lower the risk of heart disease and early death for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

New research reveals how coffee and tea can affect risk of early death for adults with diabetes


A new study has found that if you have type 2 diabetic, drinking more tea, coffee or plain water can reduce your risk of premature death from any cause, by around 25%.

The study found that drinking more sugary drinks increased the risk for heart disease by 25 percent and of dying of a heart attack, or other cardiovascular events, by 29 percent. According to research, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with type 2 diabetics.

According to Qi Sun, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston.

He said: 'Based upon our study, I would rank plain water, black coffee and unsweetened tea higher than low-fat or fruit juices, artificially sweetened drinks, or low-fat milk.' Sugar-sweetened drinks like colas and fruit juices with high sugar content, as well as whole milk high in saturated fats are known to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

High if you ate more than one meal a day

The study published in BMJ on Wednesday analyzed the diet of almost 15,500 adults in the United States with type 2 diabetes. They were all part of the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study.

The average age of respondents was 61 years old. Nearly 75% were women. Participants answered questions every two to four year for 18 years about the eight types of beverages they consumed -- artificially sweetened drinks (including coffee), fruit juices, whole and low-fat milk, plain water and tea.

Sugar-sweetened beverages include caffeinated drinks, caffeine-free drinks, fruit punches and lemonades, among others. A high consumption rate was defined as more than one drink per day; a low level was less than a sugar-sweetened beverage per month.

According to the study, a high intake was defined as four cups of coffee per day (caffeinated or decaffeinated), two cups of tea, five glasses of water, and two glasses low-fat milk. The study defined a low intake as less than one glass or cup of each beverage per month.

Analysis showed that those who consumed more sugar-sweetened drinks had a higher risk of dying from any cause by 20% compared to those who consumed less. Dying from a cardiovascular-related event, such as a heart attack, rose by 29%, the study found.

Each additional serving per day increased the risk of early death by 8%.

According to the study, drinking high quantities of coffee, low-fat water, tea and low-fat dairy products was associated with a lower mortality rate than drinking low amounts. The study found that drinking coffee was associated with a 26% reduced risk of premature death, while tea consumption was 21% lower, plain water 23%, and low-fat dairy 12%.

In terms of cardiovascular disease, data revealed that a higher coffee intake was associated with a 18% lower risk of heart disease. The study showed that drinking low-fat dairy products reduced heart problems by 12%.

Changes made helped

There is some good news for those who were sugar-sweetened beverage drinkers before being diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. The study found that when sweet drinks are replaced by coffee or artificially no-calorie drinks, the risk of early death drops significantly.

The risk of death and heart disease is reduced when sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially no-calorie drinks are replaced by coffee, tea and plain water.

The studies did not collect data on tea types (black, green or herbal) or whether sugar was added to tea or coffee. In an accompanying editorial, Nita Forouhi wrote that 'comparative effects of sweetened and unsweetened hot drinks remain unclear' due to the lack of data.

The study was an observational one, and therefore the results cannot be viewed as causal. The authors, however, 'collected detailed and repeated dietary data', tracked participants for almost two decades, made comprehensive adjustments to account for confounding variables, and performed 12 different sensitivity analysis', said Forouhi.

She said, "The argument for avoiding beverages sweetened with sugar is compelling." The choice of beverage is important.