A 2010 study published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry describes an experiment performed to test whether or not the regular drinking of coffee reduces the risk of diabetes. The journal’s summary of the experiment, paired with a corresponding news article from Science Daily covering the research, details each research step to serve as an example of the scientific method. Based on the subject of the research, one can infer that scientists must have examined the diets of mammals at risk of diabetes, inspiring them test specific food and drink. Because of the repeating of the phrase “Drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes,” this is most likely the main purpose of the experiment (ACS, 2010). Based on this repeated purpose and the experiment they conducted with mice, the hypothesis was most likely something along the lines of “If we regularly supply coffee as a drinking supply for mice, the risk of diabetes will be reduced.”
To test their hypothesis, scientists supplied 11 mice with regular drinking water—creating a control group—and supplied 10 mice with diluted coffee—creating the treatment group (Yamauchi, 2010). Independent variables included the regular supplies of each respective fluid, the standard diets and living conditions for each group, and the five weeks spent conducting the study. Dependent variables, which the researchers monitored closely, included the blood glucose concentrations and average body weight of the mice. After the five weeks passed, the average body weights remained the same, but the blood glucose concentrations of the coffee group decreased an average of 30% (Yamauchi, 2010). This, along with the observed beneficial effects on the fatty liver and inflammatory adipocytokines of each mouse led the scientists to conclude that the drinking of coffee may help reduce the risk of diabetes, providing evidence to support the original hypothesis (ACS, 2010).
There are some issues with this experiment. Though humans and mice are both mammals, the positive effect may not take hold for both species, as they each have their differences. This renders the test slightly irrelevant to human health. Additionally, the original researchers admitted the coffee supply was “a gift from a corporation” (Yamauchi, 2010). If the corporation is a sponsor to the researchers, then the scientists could have a monetary advantage to finding the results favorable for the corporation, creating a potential bias.
This research can be relevant for students because it is a prime example of the scientific method at work. Even if the article has possible issues with its conclusions, it still describes a very interesting test with a basic outline of the research process. As a student, this benefits me because it provides an example of said process. For the larger audience, this type of research is very beneficial to studying human health and altering our diets based on substantial scientific evidence.
- American Chemical Society. (2010, June 10). New evidence that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 18, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609111316.htm
- Yamauchi et al. (2010). Coffee and caffeine ameliorate hyperglycemia, fatty liver, and inflammatory adipocytokine expression in spontaneously diabetic KK-Ay mice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58 (9), 5597-5603. May 12, PMID: 20405946, ISSN: 1520-5118.