Caffeine, Coffee and Diabetes: Good, Bad or Neither?

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.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading