Study Links Drinking Tea To Reduced Risk Of Diabetes


Drinking four or more cups of tea could reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, researchers at Wuhan University of Science and Technology found in a new study released Saturday, as researchers continue to analyze the potential health benefits of tea and coffee.

Key Facts

Adults who drink four or more cups of black, green or Oolong tea have a 17% lower risk of type-2 diabetes over a 10-year period, according to the study, presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ annual meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday.

Each additional cup of tea per day was associated with a 1% reduction in the risk of type-2 diabetes, according to the study, which relied on 19 cohort analyses of over 1 million adults from eight countries.

Adults who drink between one and three cups per day were 4% less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than adults who do not drink tea, while adults who drink four or more cups reduce their risk by 17%.

Researchers believe the reduction could be the result of plant-based components found in black, green and Oolong tea, including compounds called polyphenols, which they believe could reduce blood sugar levels associated with diabetes.

The finding comes less than a month after a National Institutes of Health study of half a million British tea drinkers found adults who drink at least two cups of tea per day had a 9-13% lower risk of death than non-tea drinkers, including cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke.

Key Background

Researchers have been exploring the potential health benefits of drinks like tea, coffee and red wine for decades, with recent studies connecting increased tea consumption to improved heart health and lower risk of some cancers. According to a 2019 study by researchers at Sichuan University, people who drink two to three cups of tea per day are at a lower risk of cardiac death, coronary artery disease, stroke, in addition to type-2 diabetes. A 2017 study in the British Medical Journal linked higher coffee consumption to reduced risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease.

Big Number

75%. That’s the proportion of people in the U.K who drink at least one cup of tea per day, including 45% who drink between two and five cups per day and 13% who drink six or more cups per day, according to data from The Grocer.


Researchers in the new study also relied on China Health and Nutrition Survey data of more than 5,000 adults who did not have diabetes when first surveyed in 1997, and found in a 2009 follow-up survey that roughly 10% had type-2 diabetes, while nearly 46% were regular tea drinkers—but surprisingly, there was no significant change in the risk of diabetes between tea drinkers and people who don’t drink tea.

Crucial Quote

“Our results are exciting because they suggest that people can do something as simple as drinking four cups of tea a day to potentially lessen their risk of developing type-2 diabetes,” lead author Xiaying Li, a researcher at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said.

Further Reading

The Truth About Tea: 6 Facts On The U.K.’s Favorite Drink (Forbes)

Britons Drinking a Few Cuppas a Day See Lower Death Risk (Bloomberg)