Many people feel guilty if they reach for a second or third cup of coffee to get them through that mid-morning slump, but new research suggests that topping up your mug could actually be doing your health a favour.
The study was led by researchers Dr Frank Hu and Dr Shilpa Bhupathiraju from Harvard University's Department of Nutrition in the Harvard School of Public Health, and examined the relationship between coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes over a four year period.
Incredibly, it was found that increasing your coffee consumption by just one and a half cups on average daily could reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 11 per cent.
The study examined 48,462 women aged 30 to 55 years old, 47,510 women aged 25 to 42 years, and 27,759 men aged 40 to 75 years old according to observational data from three previously carried out US-based studies to examine the link between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk. Analysis was carried out over more than 20 years, and other factors such as diet, lifestyle, other medical conditions and chronic diseases were also considered.
The information was used to track coffee consumption over a four year period and relative risk of type 2 diabetes in the following four year period.
Compared to those who did not alter their coffee consumption, those who increased their intake by one and a half cups over four years displayed the 11 per cent lower risk over the following four year period.
Furthermore, participants in the study who had the highest level of consumption (three cups or more) also had the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a 37 per cent lower chance than those who consumed just one cup per day.
In contrast, those who decreased the amount of coffee they consumed by one cup or more per day had a 17 per cent higher risk of developing the condition.
The authors highlighted the possibility of the link being due to participants who developed other medical conditions that cause them to be at risk of type 2 diabetes decreasing their consumption as a result of diagnosis. However, results remained largely similar when cardiovascular disease and cancer were left out in follow up, which strengthens the suggestion for a link between coffee consumption and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to Diabetes Australia, 956,000 people currently have type 2 diabetes, and many more remain undiagnosed, and it is estimated that as many as 3.3 million people will have this health issue by 2031. In addition, as many as 280 people develop the disease every day.
If you develop the disease, it may result in significant hospital and associated medical costs, which can be covered by private health insurance after a waiting period for pre-existing conditions is complete.
Such information might have you running for the coffee machine to ward off this condition for yourself, but currently, little is know about the underlying reasons for decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and increased coffee consumption.
This means it's not enough to rely upon for good health – and like every other health condition, it may present despite your best efforts to stay healthy. If you really want to ensure you're covered should health issues arise, it may pay to speak with a professional at HICA about your options for health insurance.
But in the meantime, savour that delicious hot coffee without feeling guilty, even if it's your third (or fourth!) for the day. With evidence suggesting plenty of coffee is related to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes, it may be boosting your health without you even knowing it!