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26 September 2006
Who Said Decaf Reduces Anxiety?

Health is often a confusing business. One day, you'll be guzzling bucket-loads of red wine and chocolate to boost your brain or cardio system; the next, rejecting them as unhealthy. A recent study regarding decaf coffee is a case in point, as it is now believed that a high intake of decaf coffee can lead to a reduction of type-2 diabetes risk in post-menopausal women. That would be fine except that it sits in stark contrast with earlier reports that decaf intake is associated with raised LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

After a study of 29,000 post-menopausal women, researchers from the University of Minnesota have concluded that a high intake of coffee, especially decaffeinated, is associated with a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Specifically, women who drank 6-plus cups of coffee a day had a 22 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes. "Coffee intake, especially decaffeinated, was inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women," say the researchers. The researchers think that the reduced risk could be due to minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants in coffee, but add that the specific role of caffeine is ambiguous. Interestingly, women who drank decaf coffee regularly were even less at risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

But last year, researcher H. Robert Superko claimed that regular decaf drinkers had elevated levels of fatty acids, which fuels the production of LDL cholesterol. "I believe it's not caffeinated but decaffeinated coffee that might promote heart disease risk factors that are associated with the metabolic syndrome," said Superko. He said that people concerned about fatty acid and LDL cholesterol levels should think twice about drinking a lot of decaffeinated coffee. Maybe we should just eliminate coffee from our diets altogether!

Source: University of Minnesota School of Public Health

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