Coffee, Caffeine and Diabetes

Some days I’m not really a morning person while other days I am. One thing that I do love about mornings is waking up and enjoying a nice cup of joe (coffee).  When I hear coffee, the first thing that comes to mind is Starbucks and their various sugar filled concoctions; but let me inform you that I’m the type of coffee drinker that really enjoys the taste and flavor of plain, black coffee. Even though I enjoy a cappuccino as a morning meal once in a blue moon, I withhold from using cream and sugar in my coffee. Coffee not only gives me an extra boost in the morning but a CNN Health article states that coffee may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Well I’m a coffee lover and love hearing news about coffee so I decided to dig deeper.

I found a great website showing the health benefits of coffee and explored some of the studies reference regarding coffee and type 2 diabetes. Studies indicated that the development of type 2 diabetes can be reduced with moderate coffee consumption; in fact multiple studies have shown the positive correlation between coffee consumption and reduction in type 2 diabetes. Habitual coffee consumption was also associated with greater insulin sensitivity with one study having results showing that coffee consumption lead to higher fasting glucose and insulin concentrations.

On the other hand, caffeine by itself seems to have a negative effect on managing type 2 diabetes as it can lead to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and an increase in blood glucose levels when ingesting caffeine with carbohydrates.

The good thing is that the majority of research on diabetes and caffeine reveals that caffeine does not increase the risk of someone developing type 2 diabetes and actually helps to decrease the risk. But for people that are already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, their caffeine consumption should be limited as it impairs glucose metabolism in diabetics while also increasing blood glucose levels. The big takeaways are that if you have not been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, then drinking coffee will lower your chances of developing the disease. But if you are already a diabetic (type 1 or 2), then coffee and caffeine intake may need to be limited as caffeine impairs glucose metabolism, reduces insulin sensitivity and raises blood glucose levels.

For some fun coffee humor as well as insightful facts about coffee, take a look at the following sites with fun doodles:

The Oatmeal

I Love Coffee

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Insulin Pump or Injection?

Animas Insulin Pump by Pearlsa

There will always be the debate of “pump or injection” when it comes to diabetics that require insulin. Each form of insulin delivery has its own specific benefits however it isn’t without draw backs. The deciding factor comes down to the patient’s individual lifestyle and needs. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons regarding the delivery of insulin via pump and injection.

In regards to insulin injections, less education and training is required compared to the use of insulin pumps. There is a large amount of work involved with the use of an insulin pump as it requires professional training as well as diligent diabetes management. Injection therapy is also relatively cheaper compared to pump therapy. For patients that are active and involved in sports which require a lot of contact such as basketball and football, injection therapy may be a better choice as pump therapy could cause pain when hit, or the pump could become dislodged due to the nature of the activity.

Negative factors associated with injection therapy include hypoglycemia (low blood glucose level) that is associated with different types of insulin. The frequent injection of insulin can also cause the body to naturally develop resistant areas preventing insulin to properly absorb.

The greatest benefit that comes from the use of an insulin pump is better management of blood glucose levels as the pump delivers insulin throughout the day preventing high and low swings in blood glucose levels. Compared to injection therapy that may consist of 15 or more injections in a three day period, pump therapy only requires one injection for connecting the pump every three days. There has also been a positive relationship with the use of insulin pumps and an improvement of A1C.

Although pump therapy offers many benefits such as better management of diabetes as well as controlling swings in blood glucose, there are disadvantages to using a pump. The use of pump therapy has been shown to cause weight gain. In the instance that the catheter connecting the pump becomes dislodged, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur because there is no delivery of insulin to the body. Pump therapy is also expensive and it can be bothersome to have a pump attached all the time; it can also be difficult to get a pump as certain criteria need to be met. Also because pumps only use fast acting or rapid acting insulin, blood glucose levels need to be checked more frequently, causing heavy dependence on the pump to continue to function.

Although there are benefits and negative aspects of both injection and pump therapy, it really does come down to personal choice and preference. Each person is different and will require a different form of treatment for their specific needs. For instance if diabetes management is under control with a low A1C, a pump may not be the right choice however if a patient who is very sensitive or resistant to insulin is unable to control their blood glucose via injection, then a pump may be a better fit.