Coffee after dinner for a long and happy life

You may recall an earlier “Latest Skinny” post in which we reported on a study demonstrating that moderate coffee consumption significantly reduces the incidence of depression. Now a well done study from Japan demonstrated that three hours after a test meal followed by a coffee drink, blood sugar was significantly lower, peripheral vascular flow increased and elevated levels of an appetite-regulating hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) were demonstrated. The authors concluded that the post meal coffee had both vascular and weight control benefits. Lower blood sugar means less insulin stimulation and fat production, while the increase in GLP-1 reduces appetite.

The Prescription Perspective:

Research continues to demonstrate that moderate doses of coffee have multiple beneficial health effects. In this study the benefits were primarily mediated through polyphenols, which are compounds contained in coffee that have previously been demonstrated to improve metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. The GLP-1 increase is particularly interesting since this hormone, secreted by the small intestinal mucosa in response to the presence of proteins, fats and/or sugar in the lumen, is known to stimulate insulin release with a resultant rapid drop in blood sugar. When blood sugar reaches the normal range, however, GLP-1 secretion stops thus preventing hypoglycemia which would stimulate appetite. GLP-1 also has central nervous system activity to increase satiety, the sensation of fullness in the stomach. This minimizes overeating, which over the long term also reduces weight.

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These effects of GLP-1 are beneficial in a number of additional ways. Ordinarily GLP-1 has a very short life in the bloodstream. GLP-1 agonists are compounds which block the uptake of GLP-1 at its receptor sites throughout the body and thus prolong the life of GLP-1 in the blood. More GLP-1 in the bloodstream for a longer period of time can significantly reduce blood sugar and lower insulin release. All Step I patients know that insulin is the “fat producing” hormone. Because of these effects on blood sugar and insulin, GLP-1 agonists are now being used to treat type 2 diabetes. One of the attractive features of GLP-1 agonists is that when blood sugar becomes normal their ability to lower blood sugar ceases so hypoglycemia almost never occurs. Additional weight reduction caused by prolongation of GLP-1 activity in the brain which prevents overeating also improves type 2 diabetes. With all of these beneficial effects of coffee that are now being discovered, don’t feel guilty about ending a meal with coffee…in fact have second cup.

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