The collaborative study into a compound found in coffee, known as chlorogenic acid (CGA) was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Started out with diabetes
"Studies have shown that coffee consumption lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes," said Professor Kevin Croft of the University of Western Australia’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology. "This also included research on decaffeinated coffee, which suggested that the health benefits are from a compound in coffee apart from caffeine.
"With this in mind, we studied the effects of polyphenols, or more specifically CGAs, which are very rich in coffee but also found in tea and some fruits including plums. The CGAs were previously known for their health benefits, increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing blood pressure and body fat accumulation," he said.
"However, this study proved the opposite in dosages equivalent to five or six cups of coffee per day," co-author WAIMR Assistant Professor Vance Matthews said.
The researchers found that the equivalent dose of CGA fed to laboratory mice affected the utilisation of fat in the liver and caused abnormal retention of fat within cells. The obese mice also had a tendency for a higher degree of glucose intolerance and increased insulin resistance.
Taking the positives
It's not all bad news for coffee lovers, though. According to the researchers it's still okay to drink moderate amounts.
"It seems that the health effects are dose-dependent. A moderate intake of coffee, up to three to four cups a day still seems to decrease the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes," Assistant Professor Matthews said.
The researchers also found that CGA does not prevent weight gain in obese laboratory mice fed a high-fat diet when used at higher doses.
J. Agric. Food Chem., 2013, 61 (18), pp 4371–4378
Publication Date (Web): April 15, 2013