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Jittery java junkies may be doing something good for their bodies - drinking lots of coffee seems to prevent diabetes, a new Harvard study says.
Downing six cups or more of coffee each day cuts a man's risk of developing diabetes in half.
In women, drinking lots of joe cuts the risk of diabetes by 30 percent.
"This is good news for coffee drinkers," said Frank Hu, a Harvard School of Public Health professor and the study's senior author.
The study, published in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," says caffeine from coffee and other sources seems to significantly lower the risk of diabetes.
The results mirror a 2002 Dutch study that said people who drink seven cups of coffee were half as likely to develop diabetes.
But yesterday's study went a step further - and found that decaf and tea seem to lack the diabetes-fighting effects of caffeinated brew.
Doctors conducted the study by surveying coffee consumption in 42,000 men and 84,000 women in the 1980s and 1990s.
Hu said it's still unclear what it is about coffee or coffee drinkers that curbs diabetes.
"It doesn't mean everyone should run out for a latté," Hu said. "We still don't know exactly why coffee is beneficial for diabetes, and more research is clearly needed."
A healthy diet and regular exercise remain the best way to ward off diabetes, Hu said.
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