Which Type of Tea is Linked with 20% Lower Risk of Diabetes?

An analysis of studies documenting both tea consumption and incidence of Type 2 diabetes in Europe finds that people who drink tea are less likely to have Type 2 diabetes.

“A meta-analysis, including nine cohort studies, reported that drinking at least 4 cups of tea per day was associated with a 20% lower risk….”

Copyright Marek Uliasz RF123But, anyone who has traveled knows that people drink tea in many different ways: Four cups of tea in the U.S. might be as much as a quart, while four cups of tea in India might be 8 ounces made with milk instead of water.

A report in Europe PubMed Central, “Having a Promising Efficacy on Type II Diabetes, It’s Definitely a Green Tea Time,” says “It is concluded that regular consumption of green tea is beneficial for the improvement of high-fat dietary-induced obesity and type II diabetes.”

So, that would seem to say green tea is the way to go.

But one study on animals found that high doses of green tea may increase blood sugar in diabetics.

On the other hand, Science Daily reports, “Black Tea May Fight Diabetes”:

“Researchers…studied the polysaccharide levels of green, oolong, and black teas and whether they could be used to treat diabetes. Polysaccharides…may benefit people with diabetes because they help retard absorption of glucose. The researchers found that of the three teas, the polysaccharides in black tea had the most glucose-inhibiting properties.”

So, maybe you’d better drink black tea?

The research and the advice is complicated. Why the conflicting information? Because, some of the research is done in test tubes. Some is on animals. The ones on humans may test only a few people. And, in every case, it’s difficult to standardize the type and concentration of tea.

We’ve boiled the current reports down to a few helpful ideas:

The study on black tea looked for a correlation between the number of people in a country who get Type 2 diabetes and the amount of tea typically drunk by that population. They found that, in cultures where people drink more black tea, there is less diabetes, but they found no such correlation with other diseases, so, it’s possible, but not proven, that drinking a number of cups of black tea each day would lower the risk of ever getting diabetes in the first place.

Once you have diabetes, there is fair evidence that drinking green tea can help to regulate blood sugar, but there is a possible risk of raising blood sugar, so, as always, people with diabetes need to carefully monitor their blood sugar. As always, tell your medical professionals about any alternative treatments you use.

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