What Effect Does Caffeine Have On Diabetes?
Caffeine is a diuretic which means it causes you to lose water. People who stay well hydrated are much less likely to have elevated blood sugars (See the discussion on water/hydration). Drinking coffee, tea or sodas may result in you losing more fluid from the caffeine than you take in by drinking the beverage, leading to chronic dehydration. Chronic dehydration is a strong causative factor for elevated blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar pulls water from the tissues, also causing further dehydration.
Drinking two cups of coffee causes a 21% increase in glucose response after a meal. This means it will elevate your blood sugars. It also increases insulin release after the meal by 48%. This causes you to turn your food into fat instead of burning it for energy. The effect of caffeine on your blood sugar is enough that it may actually negate the effect of the diabetes medication you may be taking.
It has also been shown to increase cravings for tobacco and sugar. In addition, drinking coffee and diet soda causes the pancreas to have to work harder in order to neutralize the acidity of those drinks.
Is Decaf Coffee OK?
Studies indicate that decaf coffee is better than regular coffee but that abstinence is even better. If really serious about reversing your diabetes, I suggest you stop using it all together.
What Can I Do About Caffeine Withdrawal Headaches?
Taper off your caffeine slowly. This is a difficult addiction to break by going cold turkey. Set yourself some reasonable goals and work to make them happen. Drink lots of water to help flush the caffeine out of your body. Do not smoke as the nicotine will increase your cravings for caffeine. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication may be helpful to relieve withdrawal headaches.
What Do You Suggest I Drink Instead of Coffee?
A lot of people enjoy the comfort of holding a hot beverage in their hands. Several coffee substitutes, such as PERO or COFFIG are available in larger supermarkets or health food stores. These are also available to order online. Many people have found them to be acceptable alternatives to coffee. Search on line for non-caffeinated coffee substitutes or order these which our participants have highly recommended. Another alternate hot drink is caffeine-free tea. Our favorite is peppermint tea.
The Bottom Line
Caffeine increases glucose response and increases insulin response after meals, making diabetes worse. This effect is powerful enough to negate the effects of the diabetes medications you may be taking.
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