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How Does Caffeine Affect Blood Sugar

How Does Caffeine Affect Blood Sugar Levels


By | Submitted On January 27, 2010

Are you aware that caffeine can actually indirectly affect a person’s blood sugar levels? It can help by slightly increasing the blood sugar level through insulin resistance. Although for healthy individuals, this won’t help that much, those who have problems in their insulin, particularly diabetes type II or those who have a history of hypoglycemia should be careful in their intake of caffeine.

Blood sugar is medically termed as glucose. Actually, it is glucose that is being used by your muscles and cells as a source of energy. However, for the muscles and cells to use glucose, it should be broken down first. That is why the body is producing insulin to break down glucose so that it can be used by the muscles and the cells.

For those who have high resistance against insulin, the body needs to produce more insulin so that glucose will be broken down and used by the cells and muscles. On the other hand, insulin sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance. Once the body detects that there is decreased insulin levels, it will begin to convert sugar to energy. This means, you have high insulin sensitivity. On the other hand, if your body needs high levels of insulin to be able to convert sugar to energy, then that means, your body would has a low insulin sensitivity.

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Caffeine And Glucose Metabolism

Hypoglycemia is a common side effect of caffeine, according to However, the mechanism responsible is poorly understood. Researchers found that caffeine impairs glucose sensitivity in a dose-dependent manner, starting at a very low dose, according to a study found in the February 2013 issue of “Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.” In the study, caffeine caused impaired glucose metabolism in healthy men and women. This data suggests that those with diabetes are not the only ones at risk for this side effect.

Why Caffeine Can Spike Your Blood Sugar

We often think that its the caffeine itself that gives us energy when we drink a cup of coffee, tea, or soda, but its actually related to what the caffeine triggers hormonally in our body.

Caffeine is a stimulant that tells gives you energy through a variety of ways, explains Science Direct:

  • Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors from binding to your cells. Normally, these receptors bind to your cells to help you fall alseep, by blocking this bind, caffeine is increasing cell activity.
  • Caffeine also increases your effects of other natural stimulants produced by your brain: serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. These all give you an extra boost!
  • Caffeine increases your bodys release of adrenaline. And this is why caffeine can raise your blood sugar.
  • We also tend to think of adrenaline as something that simply gives us energy, but like caffeine, its more complicated than that! Instead, adrenaline actually triggers your liver to release stored glucose, giving you the fuel you need to endure a soccer game, a rollercoaster ride, or your usual Monday morning.

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    Effects Of Added Ingredients

    Although coffee in its pure form is known to have health benefits, many individuals want to reach for the additives to perfect that cup of java. Whether it is cream or non-caloric artificial sweeteners, the added sugar is not the best option for individuals with diabetes.

    Adding sugar, syrups, non-caloric artificial sweeteners, and creams can have a negative effect on diabetes patients due to the sugar and carbohydrate content.

    One study concluded that non-caloric artificial sweeteners may induce glucose intolerance and alter the gut microbiome in humans.

    It is important to have a conversation with your healthcare provider in regard to consuming coffee and adding sugar, sweetener, and other items to your drink. This is an important conversation to have so you can choose the right options. Your healthcare provider can give the best recommendation based on your individual specific needs.

    Drink Decaffeinated Coffee Instead


    If you have diabetes, just having about 200 milligrams of caffeine can affect your blood sugar. This is the amount of caffeine you get in about one or two cups of brewed coffee or three or four cups of black tea. This means black coffee is a better option for people with diabetes.

    However, different people may react to it differently, depending on certain factors like age, weight and how much caffeine one usually takes.

    If you have diabetes but cant do without a cup of coffee in the morning, experts suggest drinking . This will help you get the benefits of other compounds in coffee such as magnesium, chromium and polyphenols without affecting insulin sensitivity.

    Some studies suggest that the antioxidants in coffee can help reduce inflammation in your system and lower your odds of getting type 2 diabetes in the first place.

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    The Best And Worst Of These Drinks For Diabetes

    But not all sources of caffeine are created equal. Regular soda, for instance, isnt ideal in a diabetes diet. Relatively speaking, the drink doesnt have a lot of caffeine 33 milligrams per can but it does have about 37 grams of sugar, which is roughly equivalent to 9 teaspoons of added sweet stuff. For people with diabetes, this added sugar and regular sodas refined carbs can easily destabilize blood sugar levels.

    Ways To Combat The Coffee Spike

    There are many ways to help combat the blood sugar spike from coffee, including:

    • Try not drinking coffee first thing go for a 20-minute walk to combat the dawn phenomenon before you imbibe
    • Switch to decaf, or even half-caf
    • Cut down on your overall consumption
    • Do not drink coffee late in the day , so it does not negatively affect your sleep, and thus insulin resistance
    • Drink only black coffee, cold brew coffee, or coffee with a touch of dairy or non-dairy milk, cream, or half-and-half
    • Do not add syrups or sugar to your coffee opt for stevia instead
    • Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, or sugar-free syrups to your coffee for extra taste
    • If you regularly spike, even from black coffee, aim to pre-bolus before a cup, taking a dose for your coffee 10-15 minutes before drinking
    • Get some morning exercise in immediately after drinking a cup to help curb the spike
    • Talk with your doctor about additional strategies to incorporate coffee into a healthy diet

    The routine of a morning cup of coffee is essential to millions of people around the world, but a blood sugar spike is never enjoyable. Incorporating some of these strategies can help you mitigate the negative effects on blood sugar, while still allowing you to enjoy what you love! A little planning and preparation can make all the difference. And thats definitely something to celebrate. Cheers!

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    How Does Caffeine Affect Blood Sugar

    How coffee coffee and diabetes? Healthline healthline nutrition diabetes url? Q webcache. My friend Gretchen Becker, who also writes here at Healthcentral, has done just that. In fact, not only people with diabetes, but also some coffee lovers like each one. Over the past few weeks, I have been testing whether coffee consumption increases my blood sugar levels. The short-term studies of June 2017 linked the consumption of caffeine and coffee with the increase

    Video credits to Bridget Kaufman YouTube channel

    How Does Coffee Affect Blood Sugar

    Does Caffeine Raise Blood Sugar? – by Dr Sam Robbins

    Unfortunately, research on whether coffee is good or bad for diabetes has offered mixed results, partly because the research was not conducted very rigorously. Some studies have suggested that drinking coffee once in a while can be bad for blood sugar levels by making you more insulin resistant. Other studies, however, have suggested that long-term, daily coffee drinking may cause the opposite effect.

    In one such study, adults who drank more than 6 cups of coffee a day were found to have lower risk of diabetes than those who drank only 4 to 6 cups a day. Even those who drank just 1 to 4 cups a day demonstrated a lower risk of diabetes than non-drinkers. The exact reason behind this phenomenon is still unknown, but the main hypothesis is that the caffeine in coffee may have improved insulin sensitivitywhich means that cells are better able to absorb sugar and take it out of the blood, lowering blood sugar levels overall.

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    Test For Gestational Diabetes

    If youre at low risk for developing diabetes while pregnant, your doctor may request a nonfasting test. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a one-hour blood glucose challenge test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

    You may get tested earlier in your pregnancy if you have any of three possible risk factors, according to the Mayo Clinic:

    • If you had gestational diabetes in an earlier pregnancy.
    • If you have a family history of diabetes.
    • If you are have obesity.
    • If you have a metabolic condition associated with the development of diabetes, such as metabolic syndrome or polycystic ovary syndrome.

    If you are found to be at risk, or your one-hour test results have a suspicious value, then youll be asked to take a three-hour fasting blood test similar to the blood test given for people with type II diabetes. That will mean no eating or drinking anything but water for eight to 12 hours before your test.

    What About The Caffeine In Coffee

    Thereâs another twist to the story. Studies show that coffee may lower your odds of getting type 2 diabetes in the first place. Experts think thatâs because the drink is high in antioxidants. These compounds reduce inflammation in your system, which can raise your chance of having the disease.

    If you already have type 2 diabetes, this may not hold true. The caffeine in a cup of java makes it tougher to control your blood sugar. If yours spikes after your morning cup, you may want to switch to decaf. Even though this drink has a tiny amount of caffeine, it doesnât have the same effect on your blood sugar or insulin.

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    How Caffeine Impacts Your Blood Sugars

    While coffee and caffeine have been shown to possibly prevent the condition in people who dont already have it, that morning cup of Joe could have some serious effects on your diabetes.

    The Science

    According to WebMD, caffeine can impair insulin reaction. This means it may take more time for your dose of insulin to fully kick in. Caffeine can also increase your bodys resistance to insulin. This can ultimately lead to high blood sugar levels and to further diabetes complications.

    In addition, a 2008 Duke University study showed that caffeine may have an impact on your blood glucose levels. The study examined people with type 2 diabetes. One group of participants took 500 mg caffeineabout the equivalent of about two cups of coffeeevery day for a week, while the second group abstained from caffeine. Each persons blood glucose levels were tested multiple times throughout the week, and it was found that those who drank caffeine had blood sugars around 8 percent higher than those who didnt take caffeine.

    Alternative Solutions

    So, whats the best option for people with diabetes who still want their coffee fix? Try making your order . Its also best to avoid added creamers, syrups and sweeteners. If youre really craving some extra flavor, opt for the sugar-free varieties. And make sure you say no-thanks to the mile-high swirl of whipped cream that tops most coffeehouse favorites. It can be so difficult to make good habits according to your diabetes, but it is so important!

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    Is It Okay To Drink Coffee If You Have Diabetes

    Those living with diabetes dont have to go without their favorite coffee drink, but how much caffeine they consume could matteras does the amount of sweeteners that are added.

    Research has mixed findings on the effect of coffee, insulin levels, and blood sugar control, says Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, a certified diabetes educator and owner of Some studies show that coffee can cause insulin insensitivity, meaning it impairs the bodys ability to utilize blood sugar and place it into the cell where it belongs, leading to high blood sugar readings. While other studies show that coffee over a long-term period may actually help with insulin levels.

    According to Routhenstein, an average cup of coffee contains about 70 to 350 mg of chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol that may cause a reduction in blood sugar by inhibiting carbohydrate digestion while also stimulating insulin secretion.

    It appears that regular coffee can have an effect on insulin, but the impact varies based on the individual and their overall daily caffeine consumption.

    Some studies suggest improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose response when insulin and blood sugar markers are measured one and two hours after consumption, Dr. Kanji says. There are also a few studies that show worsened glucose metabolism, especially after caffeinated coffee. One study testing 126 people with four cups of caffeinated coffee over 24 weeks found no significant effect on insulin sensitivity.

    Diabetes And Your Immune System

    When your blood sugar is higher than it should be, that defense system starts to break down. One effect is increased inflammation throughout your body and especially in your blood vessels, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

    A weakened immune system also means you have an increased risk of contracting common infections like colds, flu, skin infections or pneumonia, and more serious ones like bone, joint, or heart infections. In fact, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to be hospitalized or die from a serious infection compared to those without diabetes.

    Thats an important reason to manage your blood sugar. The closer to normal it stays throughout the day, the easier it is for your immune system to do its job. Heres what to aim for:

    • If you have prediabetes, try to keep your fasting sugar below 100 mg/dL, and your A1c below 5.7%. Those numbers are considered normal no diabetes.
    • If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends working to keep your fasting or premeal blood sugar under 130 mg/dL, and your A1c under 7.0%.

    Luckily, there are a few natural ways to improve your blood sugar and support your immune system at the same time. And hey, anything that kills two birds with one stone is good in my book!

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    Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar

    Healthy Eating & Living : Will Caffeine Cause Your Blood Sugar to Go High?

    When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.

    Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?

    Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:

  • Sunburnthe pain causes stress, and stress increases blood sugar levels.
  • Artificial sweetenersmore research needs to be done, but some studiesexternal icon show they can raise blood sugar.
  • Coffeeeven without sweetener. Some peoples blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine.
  • Losing sleepeven just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less efficiently.
  • Skipping breakfastgoing without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.
  • Time of dayblood sugar can be harder to control the later it gets.
  • Dawn phenomenonpeople have a surge in hormones early in the morning whether they have diabetes or not. For people with diabetes, blood sugar can spike.
  • Dehydrationless water in your body means a higher blood sugar concentration.
  • Nose spraysome have chemicals that trigger your liver to make more blood sugar.
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    What About The Glycemic Index

    The glycemic index of foods is a rating of how individual foods raise blood sugar. The daily carbohydrate total is one way to manage blood glucose levels. Consequently, eating beans and whole grains that have a lower glycemic index than white bread or pasta can help keep blood sugars lower. So, if you want a small amount of high glycemic index foods , it would be better to have the rest of the daily carbohydrate total made from low glycemic index foods. The ADA has glycemic index ratings and offers diet suggestions for people with diabetes.

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