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Coffee Intake Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

Some more good news about that daily cup of coffee: A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that drinking coffee may be linked to a reduced risk of Type II diabetes, the type most commonly associated with obesity and the body's inability to regulate blood sugar.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota followed the coffee habits of 28,000 post-menopausal women over the course of 11 years. At the outset of the study, none reported having diabetes or heart disease.

Researchers found that women who drank six or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 22 percent less likely than those who drank no coffee to be diagnosed with diabetes.

CBS-TV medical analyst Emily Senay says the effect was even greater for decaf consumers.

"It reduced the risk of developing Type II diabetes by 33 percent," she says.

Senay says scientists are not sure what ingredient in the coffee is responsible for the beneficial effect. "Coffee beans themselves may contain compounds or chemicals that might help control carbohydrate metabolism which is the problem with diabetes," and adds, "There may be minerals that are helpful. What is interesting in this study is that it was the decaf [coffee that produced the greatest beneficial effect], and so we know it is something in the beans and not the caffeine." Senay says the findings open more avenues for study, and advises that the key to warding off diabetes is not coffee, but regular exercise and a low-fat diet.