Research on caffeine suggests there is a connection between caffeine and blood sugar, with doses of over 250 milligrams of caffeine a day contributing to elevated blood glucose levels. For context, this is about two cups of regular coffee. People who have difficulty regulating their blood sugar because of conditions like diabetes may need to restrict their caffeine intake to stay healthy, although they do not necessarily need to cut out caffeine altogether.
Caffeine appears to interfere with the action of insulin in the body, explaining the connection between caffeine and blood sugar. People with poorly controlled diabetes can experience a hyperglycemic episode as their blood glucose rises in response to the caffeine exposure. Over time, this can put stress on the body and create complications like diabetic neuropathy, where the peripheral nervous system is damaged and people experience numbness and tingling. For people who control their diabetes well and plan ahead, the risks are much lower.
Studies have noted that coffee itself can be beneficial for preventing and controlling diabetes. Researchers concerned about the connection between caffeine and blood sugar suggest drinking decaffeinated coffee so people can enjoy the benefits of this popular beverage without the risks. Another option is to watch coffee portion sizes carefully and avoid drinking more than two cups over the course of the day. People who notice a swing in blood glucose levels might be more sensitive, or drinking stronger coffee, and could need to consume less.
Many foods and chemical compounds can interact with blood sugar. The connection between caffeine and blood sugar is important to be aware of, as caffeine is found in sodas, tea, and chocolate in addition to coffee. If people consume too many foods with caffeine over the course of the day, they can be at risk of high blood sugar. When designing a diabetes diet, it is important to account for concerns like the interactions between caffeine and blood sugar levels, and to provide some room for treats or to develop alternatives to favorite treats so patients can adhere to their diets more effectively.
People interested in consuming antioxidants for diabetes have a wide range of food products to choose from, not just decaffeinated coffee. Many fruits like blueberries and cranberries are naturally high in these useful compounds, and whole fruit can be a good choice for a patient with diabetes. Exercising regularly can also help with diabetes control and prevention, in addition to addressing other health concerns.