For many, if not most Americans, caffeine is the way they get their day started and the crutch they lean on to keep them going during a busy day. Whether it’s that first (or third) cup of coffee, or soda, tea, or chocolate, caffeine is part of daily life. But for people with type 2 diabetes, caffeine can make it more challenging to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Caffeine’s Affect On Blood Sugar
A growing body of research appears to suggest that caffeine can raise blood glucose and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In one study, researchers studied people with type 2 diabetes who took a 250-milligram caffeine pill at breakfast and lunch. That’s roughly the same amount of caffeine as two cups of coffee with each meal. They found that the individuals’ blood sugar levels were eight percent higher than on days when they didn’t consume caffeine. Their readings also rose by more after each meal.
That’s because caffeine can impact how the body responds to insulin, the hormone that allows sugar to enter the cells and create energy.
Caffeine may lower insulin sensitivity, meaning that cells don’t absorb as much sugar from the blood after eating or drinking. This causes the body to produce more insulin, resulting in higher levels immediately after meals.
People with type 2 diabetes already struggle with using insulin well. After meals, blood sugar levels rise higher than normal, and caffeine may make it harder to bring it down to a healthy level. Over time, levels that are too high too often may increase the chance of developing serious diabetes complications, such as heart disease or nerve damage.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much For People With Type 2 Diabetes?
It only takes around 200 milligrams of caffeine – roughly the amount in one or two cups of coffee or three or four cups of black tea – to affect blood sugar levels. Some people with type 2 diabetes may be able to handle more or less caffeine and have different reactions to it, depending on factors such as age and weight.
What About Coffee?
While caffeine may have a negative impact on blood sugar levels for people with diabetes, other elements contained in coffee may actually reduce the risk of developing diabetes in the first place. Researchers think that’s due to the anti-inflammatory properties in the high amount of antioxidants coffee contains.
If you already have type 2 diabetes, however, this may not be the case. The caffeine in a cup of coffee makes it harder to control your blood sugar. If your levels spike after your morning cup of joe, you may want to consider switching to decaf.
Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM
Whether caffeine is part of your daily routine or not, keeping blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible is a critical element of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.