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Coffee Can Help Balance Blood Sugar and Ward Off Diabetes — If You Get the Right Kind


Chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant in coffee, is a powerful healer: Its antioxidants, minerals, and polyphenols improve the body’s ability to break down sugar, which wards off diabetes and insulin resistance.

But for the biggest benefits, Bob Arnot, MD, author of The Coffee Lover’s Diet (Buy on Amazon, $14.29), advises looking for an antioxidant-rich brand which contains more chlorogenic acid, like Dunkin Donuts Original blend (552 mg per cup) (Buy on Amazon, $5.63) or Eight O’Clock Colombian Medium Roast (401 mg per cup) (Buy on Amazon, $6.46). He suggests getting 1,000 mg of chlorogenic acid per day — and it’s easy to do, even if you dislike coffee! 

Love coffee? 

The average cup of joe contains 130 mg of chlorogenic acid per cup, so you’d have to drink roughly eight cups to get the suggested dose of 1,000 mg. But Dr. Arnot’s simple guidelines can help you get the benefits from just two to three cups per day.

Choose beans grown here: Beans from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil contain as much as 10 times more chlorogenic acid than the standard brew.

“Coffee plants produce polyphenols to defend themselves against temperature fluctuations and high winds,” Dr. Arnot explains. “When you drink this high-polyphenol coffee, those same compounds work in the human body to protect you against muscle loss, heart disease and other ailments.” 

Opt for a light, lean, American, or medium roast: Polyphenols are lost during roasting, so it’s key to select beans that are cooked at a lower heat for a shorter time. Dr. Arnot notes, “Once you roast a bean beyond a medium, 75 percent of the polyphenols are burned off.” 

Keep it simple: When you’ve selected a high-quality roast, the beans’ natural flavors will shine through and you won’t need any of the add-ins that stall slimming, Dr. Arnot asserts. “These high-polyphenol coffees contain notes of chocolate, honey, hazelnut, and berries — they have wonderful, complex tastes. You won’t want to add anything because it tastes great on its own.”

But if you do need a little something extra, skip milk, or other dairy-based creamers, which have been shown to bind to coffee polyphenols, making them 28 percent less bioavailable. Instead, add a splash of coconut or almond milk. For calorie-free sweetness, stir in liquid stevia. 

Prefer decaf? 

If caffeine leaves you with acid reflux, jitters, or insomnia, you can stick with decaf. But you may have to drink three or four 8 oz. mugs to get the benefits. Why? “The very best decafs have about 25 percent fewer polyphenols than caffeinated coffees,” Dr. Arnot explains.

Not a coffee drinker? 

While Dr. Arnot feels coffee is the best way to get the benefits (because compounds in the brew work synergistically to help the body absorb chlorogenic acid), studies have shown that supplementing with chlorogenic acid can also promote weight loss. On The Dr. Oz Show, Mehmet Oz, MD, has recommended taking 800 mg of green coffee extract 30 minutes before a meal twice a day for optimal results. One to try: GreeNatr Green Coffee Bean Extract (Buy on Amazon, $17.97).

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Diabetes (Buy on Amazon, $12.99).  

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