Greater Coffee Intake Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes

Individuals who increased their daily consumption of coffee by more than a cup over time had an 11% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with people whose consumption stayed the same, according to a study in the journal Diabetologia. Individuals who reduced their coffee intake by more than a cup a day had a 17% higher risk of diabetes.


Smiley Face LatteNeed an excuse to drink yet another cup of coffee today?  A new study suggests that increasing coffee consumption may decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.

The apparent relationship between coffee and type 2 diabetes is not new.  Previous studies have found that drinking a few cups or more each day may lower your risk – with each subsequent cup nudging up the benefit.

This most recent study, published in the journal Diabetologia, was more concerned with how changing coffee consumption – either increasing it or decreasing it over time – might affect your risk.

The conclusion: People who upped their consumption by more than a cup per day had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with people whose consumption held steady.  Decreasing coffee consumption by the same amount – more than a cup a day – was associated with a 17% increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The data is based on an analysis of more than 120,000 health professionals already being followed observationally long term.  Researchers looked at the study participants’ coffee drinking habits across four years to reach their conclusions.

Just how much coffee each day provides a benefit?

“For type 2 diabetes, up to six cups per day is associated with lower risk,” said Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead study author, citing previous research. “As long as coffee doesn’t give you tremors, doesn’t make you jittery, it is associated with a lot of health benefits.”

In the case of diabetes, the reasons behind the supposed protection conferred by coffee are not clear, but there are theories based on animal research.

One involves chemicals present in coffee – phenolic compounds and lignans – that may improve glucose metabolism, according to Bhupathiraju.  She added that coffee is rich in magnesium, which is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Coffee drinking linked to longer life

Wait, though.  Before you scramble out to purchase your fourth latte of the day, it is important to note that the type of coffee matters.

Lattes and other types of specialty drinks – often laden with sugar – were not studied.  The type of coffee involved in this study tended to be a simple eight-ounce cup of black coffee containing about 100 milligrams of caffeine.

“People think of (increasing their intake) as going and drinking an extra blended drink,” said Bhupathiraju.  “We are not talking about ‘frappuchinos’ or lattes.  It’s black coffee with milk and sugar.”

Coffee good for you, but it’s OK to hold back

And while coffee may be associated with a reduction in some chronic diseases (not just diabetes, but cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and – according to a New England Journal of Medicine study – with a longer life, overall) scientists are still  reluctant to call coffee a panacea.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one more cup in the meantime.


Researchers Find Niacin In Meteorites

Vitamins from space? Talk about a niacin flash. Scientists have discovered Vitamin B3 in meteorites. What’s next, the secrets of immortality? Read more from Live Science.

An essential nutrient for life on Earth also cooks up in space, a new study finds.

Karen Smith Crushing MeteoritesWhile scientists aren’t yet sure of the exact recipe, they think radiation-blasted ice powered the chemical reactions that produced vitamin B3, or niacin, early in the solar system’s history. A stew of dust and ice created key molecules for life in this planetary kitchen, which all later clumped into asteroids and comets, suggests the new study, published April 13 in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

Some researchers think impacts on early Earth could have delivered chemicals essential for life, such as amino acids and vitamins like niacin. Today, niacin isn’t made by the human body, and must be consumed in the diet. [7 Wild Theories on the Origin of Life]

Vitamin B3 is essential to metabolism and likely very ancient in origin,” lead study author Karen Smith of Pennsylvania State University said in a statement.

Smith and her co-authors discovered vitamin B3 in eight carbon-rich meteorites. (When fragments of an asteroid fall to Earth, they’re called meteorites.) The meteorites are all CM-2 carbonaceous chondrites, one of the most common meteorite types found on Earth.

The meteorite’s vitamin B3 levels ranged from 30 to 600 parts per billion, the study reports. Related molecules discovered in the meteorites include pyridine carboxylic acids and pyridine dicarboxylic acids.

The amount of vitamin B3 in the meteorites was linked to how much their parent asteroids were altered by water, Smith said. “We discovered a pattern — less vitamin B3 was found in meteorites that came from asteroids that were more altered by liquid water,” she said. Several chemical and mineral traces in meteorites show how much an asteroid was altered by water.

The researchers also tested their theory of how vitamin B3 may form in space with laboratory experiments. “We showed that the synthesis of vitamin B3 might be possible on ice grains,” Smith said.

Earlier research has also shown vitamin B3 can be produced non-biologically on Earth, Smith said. The team plans further experiments to explore how the vitamin can form on ice grains in space.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook and Google+. Original article at Live Science’s Our Amazing Planet.


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Author Bio
Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer

Becky Oskin

Becky was a science reporter at The Pasadena Star-News. She has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics and interned at Discovery News. She earned a master’s degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what her latest project is, you can follow Becky on .

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Fabulous Foodie Friday – Wrap Sheet

Wrap SheetYour guide to homemade dumplings
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Pork Dumplings
Erin McDowell
We’ve mastered cheesecake, nailed fresh pasta and perfected braided bread. So we’re feeling pretty good about this recipe for homemade dumplings. Our trick is to start with store-bought wrappers (that’s half the battle right there) and then mix up a filling with just a few simple ingredients–pork, ginger, garlic, sesame oil. Assembly is a snap (and enlisting a friend or two to help doesn’t hurt, either). Serve these with a spicy-sweet dipping sauce and you’ve got another one for the (recipe) books.
Pork Dumplings
A PureWow Original Recipe
Makes 8 appetizer servings
Start to Finish: 1 1/2 hours
Dumplings 1 pound ground pork3 garlic cloves, minced1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

⅓ cup freshly chopped cilantro

1 package dumpling wrappers (available in the refrigerated section of grocery stores or Asian markets)

2 tablespoons peanut oil

½ cup water, plus extra to seal the wrappers

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Dipping Sauce

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sweet chile sauce

2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon ginger

Sesame seeds, for garnish

1. Make the dumplings: In a large bowl, use your hands (or a spoon) to mix the pork with the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and cilantro until thoroughly combined.2. Place a dumpling wrapper on your work surface, and then put a rounded tablespoon of pork filling in the center (see Finishing Touches, below).3. Dip your index finger into water and wet the edges of the wrapper. Gently fold the wrapper over to form a triangular pouch, then press firmly to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Set the finished dumplings aside.4. Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the rice wine vinegar, sweet chile sauce, Sriracha sauce and ginger until combined. Garnish with sesame seeds and set aside.

5. Cook the dumplings: Heat the peanut oil in a large sauté pan. Add the dumplings to the pan and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ½ cup water to the pan and cover, continuing to cook for 3 to 4 minutes more.

6. Carefully remove the dumplings from the pan. Garnish the dumplings with scallions and serve with the dipping sauc

Cultural Factors Spark Seismic Shift in U.S. Eating Habits

Snacking takes on greater cultural weight, report finds; eating alone and immediate consumption reflect hectic lifestyles, customized diets

BELLEVUE, Wash. – It’s no secret that U.S. consumers now snack more, eat alone more and grab food more on the fly. The fascinating part is why.

Woman Considering Snacking OptionsU.S. food culture is undergoing a seismic shift that has people simultaneously more fascinated by what they eat and less inclined to cook it.

“This cultural shift puts a new burden on U.S. food companies to create products that are fresh and healthy enough to eat regularly, plus tasty and interesting enough to compete with a host of restaurants, taco trucks, coffee shops and other food venues,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. “To fully understand what consumers want, it is important to study the cultural forces underpinning what and how they eat.”

Take snacking, for example. While it’s clear that people’s busy lifestyles are contributing to a decline in traditional meals and a rise in snacking—which now represents half of all eating occasions—it is not so obvious that consumers put more cultural weight on snacks than they used to. According to The Hartman Group’s 2013 report, “ Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors,” there are several key drivers for snacking:


  • 73 percent of snacking is physically driven: That includes 44 percent hunger abatement plus 15 percent nutritional support and 12 percent bursts of energy to combat lethargy.
  • 36 percent of snacking is emotionally driven: That includes 23 percent “time markers” to create structure in the day, plus 13 percent boredom alleviation and 6 percent reward, encouragement or temporary alleviation of discipline.
  • 28 percent of snacking is socially or culturally driven, including people bonding around food without committing to a full meal and those discovering new cuisines and flavors.

The percentages don’t add to 100, because there is overlap. However, they do not overlap with aimless snacking, which represents a whopping 27 percent of all snacking, boosted by the constant availability of food and beverages. Aware that food is always nearby, people eat even when other drivers are not present. Aimless snacking is often underreported, because consumers forget or re-categorized it as “purposeful,” and it has major implications for obesity and other health and cultural issues.

Eating alone is on the rise, too. Nearly half (47 percent) of all eating occasions now take place with a single person eating alone, many of whom live in multi-person households. Consumers now enjoy eating alone. It gives them time to catch up on work, reading and television programs and allows them to nourish themselves without having to wait for family members who are going in all different directions.

Finally, there’s the advent of “immediate consumption,” an occasion that goes beyond restaurant meals to include food bought on the go—and often eaten at home. This occasion stems from a variety of changes in lifestyle and values including: the diffusion of food management within families, less food planning because of busy schedules as well as individuals—including children—wanting to customize their own meals (a vegan daughter, a gluten-free mother, a paleo father). The result is people grabbing whatever looks good just before they eat it.

To learn more about the cultural underpinnings of the food revolution, check out The Hartman Group’s new “ Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors” study. Its executive summary can be downloaded from The Hartman Group’s website:

About The Hartman Group
The Hartman Group is the principal provider of global research on consumer culture and behaviors, and a leading advisor to the world’s best-known brands on market strategy. Through a unique suite of integrated custom, primary research capabilities, market analytics and business strategy services, The Hartman Group uncovers opportunities and avenues for growth for clients across the consumer-driven marketplace. The Hartman Group is internationally recognized for breakthrough perspectives on emerging and evolving consumer behaviors in health and wellness, sustainability and food culture.

About the Modern Eating 2013 Report
To understand how consumers are snacking, eaten alone and eating within an hour of buying food, The Hartman Group used qualitative ethnographic and quantitative research methodologies. This integrated-research approach allows us to go beyond the usual listing of snacking, eating alone and immediate consumption behaviors to uncover their principal drivers.


Vermont Lawmakers Send GMO Food-Labeling Law to Governor

April 23 Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:51pm EDT

The People Are Too Big To Fail(Reuters) – A law that would make Vermont the first U.S. state to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, received final approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

The Vermont House of Representative passed the bill 114-30. Last week, the Vermont Senate, by a vote of 28-2, approved the measure, which requires foods containing GMOs sold at retail outlets to be labeled as having been produced or partially produced with “genetic engineering.”

“Vermont’s leading the nation on this, giving consumers basic information about the food that they are eating,” said Falko Schilling, a spokesman for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which backed the bill. “This is a model that the rest of the country can look to moving forward.”

The Vermont bill also makes it illegal to describe any food product containing GMOs as “natural” or “all natural.”

Unlike bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut, which require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they can be enacted, Vermont’s contains no such trigger clause. The law would take effect July 1, 2016.

Backers said they expect Gov. Peter Shumlin to sign it. There was no immediate comment from the governor’s office.

Jeffery Smith’s Interview with Vermont’s GMO Labeling Heroes, Sen. Zuckerman and Rep. Partridge

Vermont’s effort comes as the developers of genetically modified crops and the $360 billion U.S. packaged food industry push for passage of a bill in Congress that would nullify any state law to require labeling of foods made with such crops.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than two dozen states are considering GMO labeling bills.

Some of the most widely-used U.S. GMO crops are corn, soybeans and canola, staple ingredients in packaged foods.

Backers of the Vermont bill said they expect the biotech industry to sue to stop enactment, and the bill includes the formation of a fund that could pay legal bills. Consumer groups say labeling is needed because of questions about the safety of GM crops for human health and for the environment.

Last October, a group of 93 international scientists said there was a lack of empirical and scientific evidence to support what they said were false claims by the biotech industry about a “consensus” on safety. It said more independent research is needed and studies showing safety tend to be funded and backed by the biotech industry.

GMO crop developers such as Monsanto and their backers say genetically modified crops have been overwhelmingly proven safe.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, additional reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Nick Zieminski)


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