People who drink coffee may have a new excuse to continue consuming this age-old drink. It appears to reduce the amount of body fat and therefore the risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to research published in the journal BMJ Medicine, a high level of caffeine in the blood can reduce a person’s amount of body fat and their risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings, write researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. (Sweden), probably justifies exploring the potential role of calorie-free caffeinated beverages in reducing the risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Previously published research indicates that drink 3 to 5 cups daily of coffee, a rich source of caffeine, is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the researchers note. An average cup of coffee contains about 70 to 150 mg of caffeine.

But most research published to date has focused on observational studies, which cannot reliably establish causal effects because of other potentially influential factors involved, the researchers note.

Furthermore, it is difficult to extract caffeine-specific effects from other compounds included in caffeinated beverages and foods, they add.

To try to overcome these problems, researchers used Mendelian randomization to find out what effect higher levels of caffeine in the blood have on body fat and long-term risks of type 2 diabetes and major cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure and irregularity) heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation).

Mendelian randomization is a technique that uses genetic variants as proxies for a specific risk factor, in this case, caffeine blood levels, to obtain genetic evidence to support a specific outcome, in this study, weight (BMI) and risk of type 1 diabetes. two.

key genes

Researchers analyzed the role of two common genetic variants of the CYP1A2 and AHR genes in nearly 10,000 people of predominantly European descent, participating in 6 long-term studies. the genes CYP1A2 and AHR they are associated with the rate of metabolism of caffeine in the body.

People who carry genetic variants associated with slower caffeine metabolism drink, on average, less coffee but have higher levels of caffeine in their blood than people who carry it. metabolize quickly to reach or retain the levels necessary for its stimulating effects.

Results of the analysis showed that genetically predicted higher levels of caffeine in the blood were associated with lower weight (BMI) and body fat. These levels have also been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Next, the researchers used Mendelian randomization to further explore the extent to which any effect of caffeine on type 2 diabetes risk might be driven primarily by concomitant weight loss.

Our finding suggests that caffeine could explain the inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk.

The results showed that weight loss generated almost half (43%) of caffeine’s effect. on the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers acknowledge several limitations in their findings, including the use of just two gene variants and the inclusion only of European descent.

But caffeine is known to speed up metabolism, increase fat burning and reduce appetite, they explain. And it is estimated that a daily intake of 100 mg increases energy expenditure by about 100 calories per day, which could consequently reduce the risk of developing obesity.

“Our Mendelian randomization finding suggests that caffeine could, at least in part, explain the inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes risk,” the researchers write.

“Randomized clinical trials are needed to assess whether zero-calorie caffeine-containing beverages may play a role in reducing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes,” they conclude.