Can drinking four cups of green tea a day lower risk of diabetes?

Tea is a staple beverage for many people across the globe as it is believed to provide the perfect morning boost and keep one energetic and refreshed throughout the day. But, did you know that it can also help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes? According to research on over 1 million people from eight countries, it is discovered that consumption of black, green, or Oolong tea can minimise the chances of getting this metabolic condition.

The study, presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting, elucidated that consuming four cups of tea a day is linked to a 17 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes over an average period of 10 years.

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“Our results are exciting because they suggest that people can do something as simple as drinking four cups of tea a day to potentially lessen their risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” said Xiaying Li from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology in China, the lead author.

She added that the protective effect of tea may increase upon the addition of milk to it. “I think the milk would make the effect of tea on diabetes stronger. This is, tea would be more effective with milk in.”

Drinking tea may be beneficial for you (Source: AP)

After a meta-analysis of 19 previous studies into tea drinking and diabetes, researchers found a “significant linear association” between drinking black, green or Oolong tea and reduced risk of becoming diabetic. “It is possible that particular components in tea, such as polyphenols, may reduce blood glucose levels, but a sufficient amount of these bioactive compounds may be needed to be effective,” Li said.

Explaining the possible reason behind the same, Dr Ravi Shankarji Kesari, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, said: “Drinking four cups of green tea will help a person in reducing their body weight, as a result, also helping reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.”

He added that one must consume it without sugar to lower blood glucose levels. Dr Kesari asked children below 16 years of age to be careful while consuming tea.

Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietitian, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, added that tea has polyphenols which improve insulin sensitivity. “Unsweetened tea or herbal infusions can be a good choice of low-calorie beverage for someone with type 2 diabetes, as the drink does not impact blood sugar levels. It can also help avoid dehydration which can spike blood sugar levels and give additional benefits like reducing inflammation.”

According to her, 2-3 cups of tea have shown proven results in the improvement of glycemic status. “In India, one needs to understand portions in ml than cups as we find patients taking mugs full of tea (300-450 ml total volume over 24 hrs) which can be 2-3 cups of 150 ml each,” the expert said. She asked to avoid excess quantity of tea and even accompaniments like sugar and biscuits.

“One needs to avoid the consumption of maida, white rice, and sugar. Instead, it is advised to switch to millets, whole wheat bread, wheat, and brown rice,” Dr Kesari told, on the other dietary measure to control diabetes.

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