REUTERS/Mick Tsikas

NEW YORK - There's reassuring news for coffee lovers with type 2 diabetes. Drinking even fairly high amounts of coffee does not raise the risk of developing heart diseases in diabetic men or increase their risk of dying early, according to a brief report in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

Although research involving people in the general population has suggested no harmful effects on the heart from drinking coffee, there's been little information about any effect in people with diabetes, Dr. Rob M. van Dam and colleagues point out. Recently, however, there has been evidence suggesting that coffee consumption may impair diabetics' ability to process glucose.

To look into this, van Dam, from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues studied data on 3497 diabetic men who were followed from 1986 to 2004. None of them had cardiovascular disease at the outset, and they all completed several dietary questionnaires during follow-up.

The researchers found that consumption of coffee, even four or more cups per day, did not significantly increase the risk of heart disease or the odds of dying during the study period, compared with subjects who did not drink any coffee.

The same held true whether or not the subjects smoked and regardless of how long they had had diabetes.

Our findings do not support the hypothesis that habitual caffeinated coffee consumption increases risk of cardiovascular events or mortality among individuals with type 2 diabetes, the authors conclude.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, June 2009.