Health Benefits of Coffee: Mounting Research Suggests You Really Should Be Drinking It

Days after California officially stripped coffee of a cancer-causing stigma, scientists plan to replace insulin with a shot of caffeine to treat diabetes.

A team of Swiss researchers say a new implant that produces insulin when triggered by caffeine could obviate daily insulin pricks traditionally used to treat type 1 diabetes and prove there are more benefits to coffee than a quick boost of energy. Using human kidney cells, the team created a medicine that releases insulin when caffeine enters the system. When triggered by Starbucks coffee, Red Bull and energy gum, among other stimulants, the implant successfully signaled the medicine's release in tests performed on mice.

The development could assuage some of the pain and inconvenience of multiple insulin shots per day for patients with type 1 diabetes, caused when the pancreas doesn't produce the hormone that turns blood sugar, or glucose, into energy, lead researcher Martin Fussenegger told The Guardian.

A cappuccino cools on May 17 in Las Vegas. A new caffeine-triggered implant could replace insulin shots in treating type 1 diabetes. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

"You could completely integrate this into your lifestyle," he said. "You have a coffee or tea in the morning, another after lunch and another at dinner, depending on how much drug you need to get your glucose back."

The Swiss paper is one of several studies published in the last month to sing caffeine's praises. U.S. Army scientists revealed an algorithm to determine how much coffee one should consume to improve their alertness and when to drink it, results especially significant for those who run on limited sleep like service members.

Drinking coffee could even make you a better team player. People who drank more coffee contributed more to group meetings and tended to stay on-topic compared to their decaffeinated co-workers. Coffee drinkers also evaluated team performance more positively as a result of increased alertness, Ohio State University researchers found.

Contradicting California's now-redacted carcinogen warning, research presented last week found people who regularly drink coffee have lower mortality rates and healthier livers. Another study says the drink reduces the risk of kidney disease since it improves blood flow.

As research backing caffeine's benefits aggregates, more people are drinking it: Nearly 64 percent of Americans consume coffee daily in 2018, up from 57 percent two years earlier, according to a National Coffee Association's National Coffee Drinking Trends report.