The amount of body fat you carry can be affected by the levels of caffeine in your blood, which could then determine your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
A recent study, which used genetic markers to establish a more conclusive link between caffeine levels, BMI, and type 2 diabetes risk, has revealed some fascinating findings. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the University of Bristol, and Imperial College London have found that higher plasma caffeine concentrations can lead to lower BMI and reduced whole body fat mass. The team has also discovered that a higher concentration of caffeine in the blood is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the study, approximately half of the effect of caffeine on type 2 diabetes can be attributed to BMI reduction. The findings were published in bmj medicine.
In light of these discoveries, the researchers suggest that calorie-free caffeinated drinks could be explored as a potential means of helping to reduce body fat levels.
In this study, researchers collected data from almost 10,000 people from existing genetic databases. They focused on variations in specific genes associated with caffeine breakdown, specifically CYP1A2 and its regulating gene, AHR. Individuals with variations in these genes break down caffeine more slowly, leading to higher levels of caffeine in the bloodstream for a longer period of time, although they tend to consume less caffeine overall.
Using a technique called Mendelian randomisation, the researchers established causal relationships between genetic variations, illnesses like diabetes, body mass, and lifestyle factors. The results showed a significant correlation between caffeine levels, BMI, and type 2 diabetes risk. However, no link was found between the amount of caffeine in the bloodstream and cardiovascular diseases such as atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and stroke.
Previous studies have suggested that moderate caffeine consumption can improve heart health and lower BMI. This new research provides more insight into the effects of coffee on the body.
It’s essential to recognize that caffeine’s effects on the body are not entirely positive, so it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and risks of consuming it. However, this new study is a significant step towards determining the ideal amount of caffeine intake.
According to the researchers, “Small, short-term trials have shown that caffeine intake results in weight and fat mass reduction, but the long-term effects of caffeine intake are unknown.” The team believes that the correlation between caffeine levels, BMI, and type 2 diabetes could be due to the way caffeine boosts thermogenesis (heat production) and fat oxidation (turning fat into energy) in the body, both of which are vital for metabolism.
Although this study had a large sample size, more research is needed to confirm cause and effect. Mendelian randomization isn’t foolproof, and other factors that weren’t accounted for could be at play.
The researchers noted that “Considering the extensive intake of caffeine worldwide, even its small metabolic effects could have important health implications.”