There’s no question: caffeine has a long list of both benefits and harms. However, specifically, does caffeine affect blood sugar? Let’s take a look…
Caffeine’s Affect On A Healthy Body
Whatever its health effects, Americans love coffee. “The average U.S. adult drinks about two 8-ounce (240-milliliter) cups of coffee a day, which can contain around 280 milligrams of caffeine,” said M. Regina Castro, M.D., who works at the Mayo Clinic. But how does it affect blood sugar? Well, if you don’t have diabetes, there’s good news: some studies show that drinking coffee – caffeinated or decaffeinated – may actually reduce one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That’s right! However, if you have diabetes, it’s another story…
According to physicians at the Mayo Clinic, caffeine can have a severe impact on insulin reaction. Specifically, drinking coffee or the like can result in it taking longer for your dose of insulin to kick in. Meanwhile, a study from Duke University showed that caffeine could also wreak havoc on blood glucose levels. In fact, those who drink coffee regularly were found to have blood sugars roughly 8% higher than those who did not.
Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
So, what should you do if you have diabetes and you still need that daily coffee fix? Well, there are a few options. First, avoid adding creamers, syrups, sweeteners, whipped cream, and other sugar-heavy options. Instead, try a sugar-free sweetener. But if your blood sugar is still not dropping, it might be time to switch to decaf.
“If you already have diabetes, however, the impact of caffeine on insulin action may be associated with higher or lower blood sugar levels,” Castro explained. “For some people with diabetes, about 200 milligrams of caffeine—or the equivalent of one to two 8-ounce (240-milliliter) cups of plain, brewed coffee—may cause this effect.”
“Caffeine affects every person differently. If you have diabetes or you’re struggling to control your blood sugar levels, limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet may provide a benefit,” she said.