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Craving fast food? Skip the coffee

Eating a fatty fast food meal is never good for you, but washing that meal down with a coffee is even worse, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Not only do a healthy person’s blood sugar levels spike after eating a high-fat meal, but the spike doubles after having both a fatty meal and caffeinated coffee — jumping to levels similar to those of people at risk for diabetes.

The study, which is the first to examine the effects of saturated fat and caffeinated coffee on blood sugar levels, shows us that saturated fat interferes with the body’s ability to clear sugars from the blood and, when combined with caffeinated coffee, the impact can be even worse.

For the study, healthy men drank about one gram of a fat beverage for every kilogram of body weight for their first meal. Six hours later, they were given a second meal consisting of a sugar drink. Whereas typically when we ingest sugar, the body produces insulin, which takes the sugar out of the blood and distributes it to our muscles, the researchers found that the fatty meal affected the body’s ability to clear the sugar out of the blood. The subjects’ blood sugar levels were 32 per cent higher than they were when the men had not ingested the fat beverage.

The researchers also tested the impact of caffeinated coffee combined with the fatty meal. For this test, participants received the equivalent of two cups of caffeinated coffee five hours after ingesting the fat beverage. An hour later, they were then given the sugar drink. The results showed blood sugar levels increased by 65 per cent compared to what they were when participants had not ingested the fat and caffeinated coffee.

The study shows that fat and caffeinated coffee impair the communication between the gut and the pancreas, which could play a role in why participants couldn’t clear the sugar from their blood as easily. The results are particularly important for people with or at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Drinking decaffeinated coffee instead of caffeinated is one way to improve one’s glucose tolerance. Limiting the intake of saturated fatty acids found in red meat, processed foods and fast food meals has now also shown to be beneficial. What’s more this study shows that the affects of these foods can be severe and long lasting.

Beaudoin M S et al. An Oral Lipid Challenge and Acute Intake of Caffeinated Coffee Additively Decrease Glucose Tolerance in Healthy Men. Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 141 (4): 574 -581

Categories: Nutritional News, Hormonal Health