2004-06-11 / Community

Eye On Physical Therapy

By Tim Rohrs

Eye On Physical Therapy

By Tim Rohrs

By Timothy Rohrs, P.T.

Every few years there seems to be a new diet fad. Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s it was all about low fat and high carbohydrate diets. We were inundated with products with little or no fat such as Snackwell’s cookies and low fat and fat free ice cream. We all know that today the thinking is somewhat different. A trip down the aisle of the local supermarket will find low carb and no carb offerings. The emphasis has shifted from fat counting to carb counting. On some recent diets, fat is ok and even encouraged. On others, it has to be unsaturated fat. It was often believed that soda and colas were responsible for increased bone loss and excessive consumption would lead to osteoporosis. I wrote about the soda and bone loss myth last November.

Diabetes is a disease where sugar in the blood cannot get into the cells that need fuel and stays in the blood stream. The consequences of this excessive sugar in the blood stream are many including retinopathy, neuropathy, overt diabetic nephropathy, and increases the risk of coronary heart disease two- to fourfold. Diabetes can lead to hypertension, high blood pressure and loss of sensation in the feet and can prolong the healing of minor cuts and abrasions due to decreased blood flow.

A study published this past January, 2004 in Annals of Internal Medicine by Frank Hu, M.D. PhD. found that participants who regularly drank coffee significantly reduced the risk of onset of type 2 diabetes, compared to non-coffee drinking participants. The study tracked 41,934 men between 1986 and 1998 and 84,276 women between 1980 and 1998. Prior to the study all participants were free of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By the study’s conclusion, 1,333 new cases of type 2 diabetes had been diagnosed in men and 4,085 in women. The researcher found that for men, those participants that drank more than 6 cups of coffee per day reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by more than 50 percent compared to men in the study that didn’t drink coffee. The women who drank six cups or more of coffee reduced their risk by 30 percent.

Researchers hypothesize that coffee, which contains antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and magnesium may help improve sensitivity to insulin and may contribute to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. "This is good news for coffee drinkers, however it doesn’t mean everyone should run out for a latté," said Frank Hu, senior author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.


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