Thursday, November 08, 2012

Low Rates Of Type 2 Diabetes Among Black Tea Drinkers

This association between tea (and sometimes coffee) and diabetes keeps cropping up. I've worked in this field for over 16 years and almost every year some study addresses it. Here's another study:

Low Prevalence Of Type 2 Diabetes Among Regular Black Tea Drinkers
"The authors systematically mined information on black (fermented) tea consumption in 50 countries across every continent ... [and found that] the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is low in countries where consumption of black tea is high."
It's an epidemiological study so there are limitations:
"[The authors] caution that the quality and consistency of data among all 50 countries are likely to vary, as will the criteria used to diagnose diabetes. And what may seem positive at the population level may not work as well as the individual level.

They also point out that various factors are likely to have contributed to the dramatic rise in diabetes prevalence, and that a link between black tea consumption and the prevalence of the disease does not imply that one is caused by the other."
But their findings back those of previous research:
"These original study results are consistent with previous biological, physiological, and ecological studies conducted on the potential of [black tea] on diabetes and obesity."
They said this about black tea vs. green tea, which makes me wonder if something like oolong tea, which is only partially fermented, may be the best of both worlds:
In recent years, a great deal of interest has focused on the health benefits of green tea, which contains simple flavonoids called catechins, thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, say the authors.

But the fermentation process, which turns green tea black, induces a range of complex flavonoids, including theaflavins and thearubigins, to which several potential health benefits have been attributed, they add.
Here's a link on how to make the perfect cup of tea. Is there is such a thing?

Making The Perfect Cup Of Tea Involves A Secret Ingredient – Patience, Claims A New Study, The Telegraph, June 2011
The photo is from a 2009 ScienceDaily article on a study that found, you guessed it, drinking black tea might help manage diabetes.


Autumn Hoverter, MS, RD said...

I wonder if the effect is the same if you add cream and honey as I do :)

mgtdOcean said...

Could it be something as simple as...People who drink lots of tea drink a lot less sugar packed soda pop. This in no way proves causation without controls for other lifestyle variables. Basically junk science and a waste of money IMHO.

Bix said...

Nobody worth their salt doesn't control. It would never stand up to peer review besides. That's what peer review is about.

Epidemiological studies generate hypotheses. This is one hypothesis that isn't going away, that is gaining strength, and for which biologically plausible mechanisms are emerging.

Remember, it was epidemiological studies that generated the hypothesis that smoking contributed to lung cancer. That hypothesis was supported over time, and mechanisms described for its effect. Some people continue to think that smoking does not contribute to lung cancer because it was never proven. (Science doesn't prove, it disproves.) Given the wealth of investigation behind that association (smoking and lung cancer) I'd say calling it junk science is a risky position.

RB said...

When I read about studies with tea and coffee I never hear accounting for items people add like cream, sugar or artificial sweeteners and creams. Did this study take into account things people add to their tea? I prefer my tea and coffee without added items.

Ezer said...

I prefer my coffee strong and with a pinch of milk.

Now, I saw this comment in some place and found it funny: "I like my women the way I like my coffee: detrimental to hippocampal neurogenesis, but conducive to short term memory and attentional control."

Bix said...


Drinking green tea with starchy food may help lower blood sugar spikes

Bix said...

LOL, Ezer. Do you have that committed to memory?