Populations which drink high quantities of black tea have a significantly lower prevalence of diabetes, research has found.

A new study, published today in the British Medical Journal Open, has discovered a linear correlation between the quantity of black tea consumed and the incidence of diabetes across 42 nations worldwide. The research found that on average, a population which consumes double the amount of black tea to another has about one quarter less cases of diabetes. However, the study, which was carried out by Geneva-based research agency Data Mining International in partnership with consumer goods company Unilever, does not suggest that there is a causal relationship between black tea consumption and reduced risk of diabetes in individuals.

To carry out the research, Data Mining International assessed the black tea consumption rates of 42 different countries and analysed them against each country’s rates of respiratory, infectious and cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer and diabetes. The data was sourced from Euromonitor’s World Tea Consumption Survey and the World Health Survey, conducted by the World Health Organization. The only correlation found was between a population’s black tea consumption and its diabetes prevalence.

Dr Ariel Beresniak, Chief Executive Officer of Data Mining International said: “This is the first time that a robust statistical relationship has been established between black tea consumption and diabetes prevalence in the world. While we cannot confirm a cause-effect relationship between tea drinking and diabetes, our findings are consistent with a number of biological, physiological, epidemiological and clinical studies suggesting that black tea components have a positive effect on glucose metabolism.”

Co-author of the study, Professor Genevieve Berger, Chief Research & Development Officer, Unilever said: “This research adds to a growing body of evidence which points to black tea’s health-giving properties. Further investigation is required to understand if there is a causal relationship between the two, but the fact that populations which drink lots of black tea suffer less cases of diabetes is an interesting finding, and one which gives us good cause to carry out more research to further understand the driving factors behind this exciting research.”

The research has also been presented at the last World Congress of Diabetes and International Congress of Dietetics.

Back to Press Releases