February 21/London/Daily Mail -- Drinking coffee may cut the risk of diabetes, say researchers.

Moderate consumption of coffee -- four to five cups of coffee a day -- may lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those drinking it occasionally or not at all.

A new study suggests a cut in risk of around 30% from regular consumption of coffee -- whether it was caffeinated or decaffeinated.

The findings, the latest from a major European investigation into the effects of diet and lifestyle on health, also reveal that coffee drinking does not appear to increase the risk of heart disease or cancer.

Altogether 42,659 people taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Germany study were followed up for almost nine years on average.

During that time, there were 1,432 cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed, 394 heart attacks, 310 strokes cases and 1,801 cancer cases.

Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day -- caffeinated and decaffeinated -- compared with less than one cup was not linked to a higher risk of developing a chronic disease.

A lower risk of 20-30% of developing type 2 diabetes was linked to moderate consumption of both kinds of coffee, says a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Ten countries contribute to the EPIC study, including two centers in Germany which carried out the latest analysis.

It had been previously thought diabetes risk may be cut by drinking coffee, but there have been conflicting results on whether it protects or promotes chronic diseases such as heart problems and cancer.

Research last year suggested each additional cup of coffee a day was linked to a cut of 7% in risk of diabetes, and four cups a day were equivalent to a cut of around 25%, compared with those drinking no coffee.

Studies on decaffeinated coffee have made similar findings with the protective effect due to “direct biological effects” such as antioxidants and magnesium.

Because of the benefits from decaffeinated coffee, it is unlikely caffeine is solely responsible for the effect.

Dr. Euan Paul, executive director of the British Coffee Association, said, ‘This study adds to the growing scientific data that suggests moderate coffee consumption, four to five cups of coffee per day, is safe and does not increase the risk of a range of chronic disease.

“It is particularly encouraging to see that coffee consumption may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, given that around 90% of all adults in the U.K. with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.’

He pointed out that pregnant women are advised to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy to 200mg a day from all sources. This includes caffeine intake from tea, coffee, cola, and chocolate.

 From the February 21, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.