Increased coffee intake associated with higher metabolic syndrome risk in type 1 diabetes

Adults with type 1 diabetes who drink a minimum of five cups of coffee per day could have an increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared with those who drink less, researchers suggest.

These findings from scientists at the University of Helsinki, Finland, are the latest in a multitude of studies which have reviewed the relationship between coffee, diabetes and metabolism in recent years.

Last year, drinking more coffee was shown to reduce the risk of death in an international study, including among people with diabetes. Also in 2017, regular coffee intake was reported to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes

While this new study indicates heightened coffee consumption among people with type 1 diabetes may confer negative health aspects, future studies will need to explore and validate this association.

The researchers evaluated data from 1,040 adults with type 1 diabetes who were divided into four groups based on their coffee consumption, and determined potential associations regarding metabolic syndrome

Moderate (3-5 cups per day) and high (5+) coffee consumption increased the odds of metabolic syndrome, which was categorised by possessing at least three cardiovascular riskfactors: obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high triglyceride levels and/or low HDL-cholesterol.

These findings remained regardless of age, sex, energy intake, alcohol intake, smoking or physical activity. Moreover, increasing coffee intake was also shown to impair insulin resistance among participants.

But researchers stressed this is an association at most, and not intended as a warning for people with type 1 diabetes to drastically reduce or cut out their coffee consumption. 

“Whether habitual coffee consumption will have any negative or beneficial effects on health outcomes, in this population of patients with type 1 diabetes, will be assessed in future studies,” said the researchers.

The findings appear online in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.