HealthDay News — Type 2 diabetes rates are lower in countries where many people drink black tea, study results show, supporting earlier research that suggests consuming black tea may reduce the risk for diabetes.

Ariel Beresniak, MD, MPH, PhD, from Data Mining International in Geneva, and colleagues used a systematic data-mining approach to analyze the correlation between black tea consumption and the prevalence of diabetes and cancer in 50 countries participating in the World Health Survey. They also examined prevalence of respiratory disease, infectious disease and cardiovascular disease in relation to tea consumption.

Statistical analysis revealed that black tea consumption was negatively correlated with diabetes, but not with any of the other four health indicators, Beresniak and colleagues reported in BMJ Open.

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“This innovative study establishes a linear statistical correlation between high black tea consumption and low diabetes prevalence in the world,” the researchers wrote.

Ireland had the highest level of black tea consumption (more than 4.4 pounds a year per person), closely followed by the United Kingdom and Turkey. Nations with the lowest levels of black tea consumption were South Korea, Brazil, China, Morocco and Mexico.

Complex flavanoids within black tea have been associated with several potential health benefits, and the brewing process is suspected to play a role in releasing these flavanoids. Although the current study found a mathematical association between black tea and type 2 diabetes rates, it did not show a cause-and-effect relationship.

“Further epidemiological research and randomized studies are necessary to investigate the causality,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Beresniak A et al. BMJ Open. 2012; 2:e000648 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000648