Can a brew help you beat type II?

Coffee and cake – a match made in heaven. It may also be healthier than you think – well the coffee at least. A recent paper has shown that drinking coffee may help prevent obesity-linked type II diabetes. The study showed that three chemicals found in coffee can stop certain proteins from misfolding, clinging together and becoming toxic. These clusters of misfolded protein, known as amyloid bundles, are thought to lead to diabetes by damaging insulin-producing pancreatic cells. This results in the pancreas losing its ability to make insulin and regulate blood-sugar levels.

This research provides a mechanism to explain previously observed links between drinking a lot of coffee and being less likely to develop diabetes. Brilliant – I’m going to go have a large slice of sugary cake and wash it down with coffee – no diabetes for me!

Alas though, it’s not quite that simple. The authors admit that some of the links between drinking coffee and a reduced risk of diabetes may be due to the appetite suppressing properties of caffeine. If you eat less, you’re less likely to be obese and as a result less likely to develop type II diabetes. So it could be the amyloid bundle busting power of coffee or it could be a reduced likelihood of obesity. It could even be both.

Damn it! Maybe just a skinny latte and a jaffa cake for me then. So although this study doesn’t provide an all-you-can-eat cake pass, it does suggest that coffee may have some positive health effects after all.

Post by: Liz Granger

Twitter: @Bio_Fluff

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