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Making Sense of Advice about Tea and Diabetes

Should you drink tea if you have diabetes? What if you don’t have diabetes, but you’re concerned that you may be at-risk? The advice can be confusing.

European studies that compared tea consumption with the incidence of Type 2 diabetes found that populations that drink 4 cups of tea a day are up to 20% less likely to have Type 2 diabetes.

But what kind of tea is best?

One report on the site, Europe PubMed Central, called “Having a Promising Efficacy on Type II Diabetes, It’s Definitely a Green Tea Time,” has a clear preference for Green tea:

“It is concluded that regular consumption of green tea is beneficial for the improvement of high-fat dietary-induced obesity and type II diabetes.”

On the other hand, another study on animals indicates that high doses of green tea may increase blood sugar in diabetics.

On the black tea side, 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.”

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.

Copyright_al1962_123RFStockPhotoHere are few helpful conclusions drawn from the studies above:

“The first 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.”

If you are under care of medical professionals, be sure to inform them about any alternative treatments you use.

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