Drinking four or more cups of tea can lower the risk of middle-aged related diabetes
Drinking one to three cups has little effectFour or more reduces risk 20%Four cups a day is British average

PUBLISHED:

12:30 GMT, 4 June 2012

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UPDATED:

13:59 GMT, 4 June 2012

The British habit of tea-drinking can help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes – but only if you drink four or more cups a day.

A study of European populations found that countries that drank four cups a day – the British average – had a 20% lower risk of developing the illness.

Tea drinking ranged from an average of none a day in Spain
to four a day in the UK.

The British habit of tea-drinking can help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes - but only if you drink four or more cups a day

The British habit of tea-drinking can help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes – but only if you drink four or more cups a day

The study found that benefits seemed to be most obvious among heavy tea drinkers – drinking a mere one to three cups a day doesn't lower the risk.

A research team led by Christian Herder from the Leibniz
Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany,
said previous analyses showed tea consumption was associated with lower
incidence of type 2 diabetes.

‘Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type
2 diabetes, but dietary factors may also play a role. One dietary factor of
interest is tea consumption.

'Tea consumption may lower the risk of type 2
diabetes by influencing glucose digestion, glucose uptake, and by protecting
beta-cells from free-radical damage. This beneficial effect may be due to the
polyphenols present in tea.’

‘Drinking
at least four cups of tea per day was associated with a 20% lower risk,
but drinking one to three cups has no effect on the risk,' says the University of Dusseldorf's Dr Herder

Herder said, ‘Drinking
at least four cups of tea per day was associated with a 20 per cent lower risk,
whereas drinking one to three cups per day did not lower the risk of diabetes
compared with non-tea drinkers.

But it was unclear if tea is associated inversely over the
entire range of intake.

He wrote ‘Therefore, we investigated the association between
tea consumption and incidence of type 2 diabetes in a European population.’

It was done in 26 centres in eight European countries, and
consisted of 12,403 incident type 2 diabetes cases plus thousands of others
without the disease.

Tea drinking ranged from an average of none a day in Spain
to four a day in the UK.

Herder wrote: ‘Increasing our understanding of modifiable
lifestyle factors associated with the development of type 2 diabetes is
important, as the prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly.

‘In line with this, no association was observed when tea
consumption was studied as continuous variable. This may indicate that the
protective effect of tea is restricted to people with a high tea consumption.