Drink coffee after breakfast, not before, for better blood sugar control

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In a new study from the University of Bath, researchers found that a strong, black coffee to wake you up after a bad night’s sleep could impair control of blood sugar levels.

They looked at the effect of broken sleep and morning coffee across a range of different metabolic markers.

They found that whilst one night of poor sleep has limited impact on the metabolism, drinking coffee as a way to perk people up from a slumber can have a negative effect on blood glucose (sugar) control.

Given the importance of keeping our blood sugar levels within a safe range to reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, they say these results could have ‘far-reaching’ health implications especially considering the global popularity of coffee.

In their study, the team asked 29 healthy men and women to undergo three different overnight experiments in a random order:

In one, condition participants had a normal night’s sleep and were asked to consume a sugary drink on waking in the morning.

On another occasion, participants experienced a disrupted night’s sleep (where the researchers woke them every hour for five minutes) and then upon waking were given the same sugary drink.

On another, participants experienced the same sleep disruption (i.e. being woken throughout the night) but this time were first given a strong black coffee 30 minutes before consuming the sugary drink.

The team found that one night of disrupted sleep did not worsen participants’ blood glucose/insulin responses at breakfast when compared to a normal night’s sleep.

However, strong black coffee consumed before breakfast substantially increased the blood glucose response to breakfast by around 50%.

Although population-level surveys indicate that coffee may be linked to good health, past research has previously demonstrated that caffeine has the potential to cause insulin resistance.

This study therefore reveals that the common remedy of drinking coffee after a bad night’s sleep may solve the problem of feeling sleepy but could create another by limiting your body’s ability to tolerate the sugar in your breakfast.

The team says put simply, blood sugar control is impaired when the first thing the body comes into contact with is coffee especially after a night of disrupted sleep.

People might improve this by eating first and then drinking coffee later if they feel we still feel the need it.

If you care about blood sugar control, please read studies about cheese may help control blood sugar and findings of this drug combo may control blood sugar better in people with diabetes.

For more information about blood sugar control and your health, please see recent studies about this popular painkiller may harm your blood sugar and results showing that this high-protein plant may help control blood sugar.

The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition. One author of the study is Professor James Betts.

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