Drinking coffee regularly after pregnancy may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes for women who had diabetes during pregnancy

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is projected to continue rising and one in three Singaporeans currently has a risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. Several early-life cardiometabolic complications make identifying high-risk populations and application of diabetes preventive strategies paramount.

Among the high-risk groups are women who experienced diabetes during pregnancy, commonly known as gestational diabetes mellitus or gestational diabetes. Compared to the general healthy female population, these women may face a ten-fold higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Current known research has found that, instead of artificially- and sugar-sweetened drinks, drinking two to five cups of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee a day is potentially a healthier substitute in delaying the onset or preventing type 2 diabetes.

This is likely due to the bioactive components in coffee, such as polyphenols, which are naturally-occurring plant micronutrients. Bioactive components are types of chemicals found in small amounts in plants and certain foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils, and whole grains, and may promote good health.

This common and popular drink appears to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in the general population. However, whether it may also be beneficial among women who had gestational diabetes remained unknown.

To investigate this, Professor Cuilin Zhang, Director of the Global Centre for Asian Women’s Health (GloW) and a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine), with her team at GloW, in collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), examined the roles of long-term coffee consumption after the complicated pregnancy and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes among women with a history of gestational diabetes.

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