A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia and Southeast University in China has revealed that daily consumption of black tea may significantly reduce the risk and progression of type 2 diabetes by enhancing blood sugar control. The study found that individuals who consumed black tea on a daily basis experienced a 53% lower risk of prediabetes and a 47% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Importantly, these results remained significant even after accounting for established risk factors like age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), average arterial blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, and cholesterol levels.

“The substantial health benefits of tea, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, have been reported in several studies over recent years, but the mechanisms underlying these benefits have been unclear”, notes the study’s co-lead author Associate Professor Tongzhi Wu from the University of Adelaide and The Hospital Research Foundation Group Mid-Career Fellow.

“Our findings hint at the protective effects of habitual tea drinking on blood sugar management via increased glucose excretion in urine, improved insulin resistance and thus better control of blood sugar. These benefits were most pronounced among daily dark tea drinkers.”

The potential benefits of black tea on metabolic control are attributed to the unique fermentation process involved in its production, which leads to the creation of distinct bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, free amino acids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and their derivatives. These compounds are believed to possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity and enhanced performance of beta cells in the pancreas. Additionally, black tea consumption appears to influence the composition of gut bacteria, further contributing to its positive effects on blood sugar regulation.

The study involved 1,923 adults residing across eight provinces in China, ranging in age from 20 to 80 years. Among the participants, 436 had diabetes, 352 had prediabetes, and 1,135 had normal blood glucose levels. The study encompassed both non-habitual tea drinkers and those who exclusively consumed a single type of tea. Participants were queried about the frequency and type of tea they consumed, which included green, black, dark, or other varieties of tea.

Researchers investigated the association between the frequency and type of tea consumption and various glycemic factors, including glucose excretion in urine, insulin resistance (measured by the triglyceride and glucose index [TyG]), and overall glycemic status. The study also considered the phenomenon of enhanced renal glucose reabsorption in people with diabetes, which leads to the kidneys retrieving more glucose from urine, ultimately contributing to elevated blood sugar levels.

According to Associate Professor Wu: “These findings suggest that the actions of bioactive compounds in dark tea may directly or indirectly modulate glucose excretion in the kidneys, an effect, to some extent, mimicking that of sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, a new anti-diabetic drug class that is not only effective at preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, but also has a substantial protective effects on the heart and kidneys.”

Co-lead author Professor Zilin Sun from Southeast University attaches, “Our findings suggest that drinking dark tea every day has the potential to lessen type 2 diabetes risk and progression through better blood sugar control. When you look at all the different biomarkers associated with habitual drinking of dark tea, it may be one simple step people can easily take to improve their diet and health.”

These findings highlight the potential role of daily black tea consumption in managing blood sugar levels and mitigating the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The unique bioactive compounds found in black tea, produced through its fermentation process, may be instrumental in achieving these positive outcomes. However, it’s essential to recognize that while these results are promising, further research is necessary to fully elucidate the underlying mechanisms and establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between black tea consumption and diabetes prevention and management.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.

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