Wasn’t too sure about what the title of this article should be. I was tempted to make it Coffee and Blood Sugar but I really need to adjust my thinking since Blood Sugar isn’t the problem, but insulin levels are.
The general concept that lowering Insulin levels also lowers Insulin resistance in the cells makes good sense. The problem is that there’s no available instrument I can use to determine Insulin levels. The only measurement I can do easily is blood sugar levels. Insulin kicks in when blood sugar levels rise. Carbs cause blood sugar to rise and Insulin to kick in. That’s the advantage a Low Carb diet brings to Insulin Resistance.
So why coffee? I have not been a fan of coffee. My preferred drink of choice is Diet Mountain Dew. Lots of caffeine and a taste that I used to like. It now tastes too sweet to me since I have gone LCHF. To replace the caffeine I have taken to drinking coffee. It started innocently enough. Drank some of the horrible coffee at work. Spotted a jar of instant coffee at Trader Joe’s and it was better than the stuff at work. Researched through a friend at work K-cup machine and actually purchased a Bella Single Cup brewstation.
Took this to the next level and actually started adding Ghee to coffee. Not too much, maybe a half teaspoon. I drink 2 mugs (12 oz each) of coffee a day. I’m adding maybe 50 calories to my day during what was previously a fast time. But since those calories are fat rather than carbs it’s not affecting my ketosis.
But all of this begs the question. Have I done myself a favor by trading something I like for something I am just beginning to learn to tolerate? Certainly it’s a more grown up thing to drink coffee but is it a more healthy choice?
By my own testing with my blood sugar meter Diet Mountain Dew really didn’t drive my blood sugar one way or the other. But there’s the question of what it was doing to my Insulin levels.
But, what does coffee do to blood sugar and Insulin? I see a small rise in my blood sugar when I drink my black coffee. And that’s what the literature says happens (Associations between the intake of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and measures of insulin sensitivity and beta cell function).
There is some evidence as well that the effect on Insulin Sensitivity is a temporary effect and that the longer term effect of coffee on Insulin Sensitivity is in fact a good effect (Caffeinated Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Caffeine in Relation to Plasma C-Peptide Levels, a Marker of Insulin Secretion, in U.S. Women):
Intakes of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and caffeine in 1990 were each inversely associated with C-peptide concentration in age-adjusted, BMI-adjusted, and multivariable-adjusted analyses. In multivariable analysis, concentrations of C-peptide were 16% less in women who drank >4 cups/day of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee compared with nondrinkers (P < 0.005 for each). Women in the highest quintile compared with the lowest quintile of caffeine intake had 10% lower C-peptide levels (P = 0.02). We did not find any association between tea and C-peptide. The inverse association between caffeinated coffee and C-peptide was considerably stronger in obese (27% reduction) and overweight women (20% reduction) than in normal weight women (11% reduction) (P = 0.005).
C-peptide is proportional to Insulin although it has a longer half life. It looks as if this may be part of the reason that coffee is a good choice for diabetics. It may raise blood sugar in the short term but lower insulin resistance in the longer term.