Is Green Tea Good for Diabetics? Let’s Find Out

Parul Dube

April 15, 2024

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas fails to produce insulin or the body cannot use the insulin produced. The hormone insulin, acts as a key that unlocks the door for glucose, a sugar found in foods, to enter the body’s cells. Here, glucose is converted to energy.

People with type 2 diabetes often experience insulin resistance, a condition in which cells are less responsive to insulin, making it challenging for them to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. 

For centuries, green tea has been revered for its numerous health benefits. Studies have demonstrated that it can help lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Green tea can also aid in weight loss and improve cardiovascular health. Research shows that it can even reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Those with diabetes or looking to improve their overall health cannot disregard the advantages of green tea.

Is Green Tea Good For Diabetics?

The management of blood sugar is a top priority for those with diabetes. To effectively manage diabetes and live a healthy lifestyle, monitoring what you eat and drink is essential.

Most foods you consume should be either calorie-free or have minimal calories. Green tea is an ideal beverage for those looking to meet this requirement. Harvard Review says green tea contains polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants with no sugar and few calories. 

Meta-analysis of controlled trials shows that regular consumption of green tea can lower fasting insulin and glucose levels, two key measures of diabetes.

Green tea is also beneficial due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help protect cells from damage and inflammation that can lead to the development of diabetes. 

Research also shows that green tea contains catechins, which positively affect glucose metabolism. Various studies and research papers establish that regular green tea consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The health benefits of green tea are because of its polyphenols and polysaccharides, which are antioxidants. They can help maintain healthy blood pressure and lower dangerous cholesterol levels.

Best Time to Drink Green Tea for Diabetes

For those with diabetes, green tea is a beneficial beverage. It is due to the presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin, in the tea. Research has demonstrated that EGCG can improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels.

It is beneficial to drink green tea in the morning or between meals if you have diabetes, as it can help regulate blood sugar levels and boost energy.

However, be aware that green tea contains some amount of caffeine and can cause an increase in blood sugar for some people. Therefore, consider decaffeinated green tea or limit intake to the earlier part of the day to avoid disruption to sleep.

Furthermore, consuming green tea with meals can decrease iron absorption from food. Hence, monitoring blood sugar levels and adjusting diet and medications in consultation with your healthcare provider is essential. 

The quantity and time of green tea consumption can make a difference. You can consult a registered nutritionist at HealthifyMe to assess your health and suggest the appropriate time and quantity for the best effect. 

Green Tea – How Does it Help Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure?

Rich in Antioxidants

People with diabetes have higher levels of oxidative stress than others, not only in the blood but also in organs that respond to insulin.

In addition, studies suggest that the levels of oxidative stress indicators increase in the pre-diabetic state due to oxidative stress. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in developing type 2 diabetes.

Antioxidants can help combat oxidative stress. Green tea is a good source of antioxidants, particularly the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Research has shown that EGCG can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Green tea consumption can also help lower blood pressure levels. According to research, the antioxidants present in green tea, including EGCG, can help relax the blood vessels, thereby decreasing resistance to blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Green Tea Can Slow Carbohydrate Absorption.

Consuming green tea regularly can help manage blood sugar levels by reducing the absorption rate of carbohydrates. It is especially beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, as it can prevent blood sugar surges after eating.

Weight Loss

Green tea is an excellent choice if you want to manage your weight. Additionally, shedding pounds can reduce resistance to insulin and regulate blood sugar. As per research, it can improve metabolism.

The HealthifyMe Note

The catechins in green tea are known to be antioxidants that can help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels. These catechins work by increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing inflammation, which ultimately leads to a decrease in blood sugar levels. Additionally, green tea catechins may also be beneficial for improving the function of blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. Drinking green tea regularly can improve heart health by reducing the risk factors associated with high blood sugar and high blood pressure.


Including green tea in one’s daily routine can benefit those with diabetes. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, including EGCG, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

It is essential to keep blood sugar levels within the normal range. In addition to dietary changes, one should stay active to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can green tea reduce blood sugar?

A: Yes. The antioxidants and other compounds present in green tea can help reduce and maintain blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity. However, it is essential to remember that one should not use green tea as a substitute for prescribed medications that manage blood sugar. Instead, consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Q. How many times can we drink green tea for diabetes?

A: Drinking green tea 2-3 times a day may help to reduce the chance of getting diabetes or manage existing blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, speaking to a healthcare provider before altering your diet or lifestyle is essential.

Q. Is 1 cup of green tea a day enough?

A: Green tea may have some potential benefits for blood sugar control. But it is not enough to rely solely on it for diabetes management. Instead, it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet and with other diabetes management strategies. Therefore, one should not view it as a replacement for a comprehensive approach to managing diabetes.

Q. Who should not drink green tea?

A: Pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with iron deficiency or anaemia, and those taking medications may want to limit or avoid green tea. These individuals should check with their healthcare provider before adding green tea to their diet, as it contains caffeine and other compounds which could impact fetal or infant development, interfere with the absorption of non-heme iron and interact with certain medications.

Q. Which is better for diabetics: tea or coffee?

A: People with diabetes may benefit from choosing green tea over coffee for several reasons. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee and thus doesn’t  interfere with blood sugar control. Furthermore, catechins, compounds found in green tea, can positively influence insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels.

Q. How much green tea should I drink a day to lower blood sugar?

A: The impact of green tea on blood sugar levels needs to be more conclusive. Drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily may help regulate blood sugar levels. However, further research is needed to determine the ideal amount to consume. Moreover, the effects of green tea on blood sugar levels can differ based on individual factors such as age, weight, and overall health.

The Research Sources

1. Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi LY, Zhu JD, Mi MT. The effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity is a meta-analysis of 17 randomised controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;98(2):340-8. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.052746. Epub 2013 Jun 26. PMID: 23803878.

2. Lin JK, Liang YC, Lin-Shiau SY. Cancer chemoprevention by tea polyphenols through mitotic signal transduction blockade. Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Sep 15;58(6):911-5. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(99)00112-4. PMID: 10509743.

3. Harvard School of Public Health

4. Zheng XX, Xu YL, Li SH, Hui R, Wu YJ, Huang XH. Effects of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on glycemic control in adults: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):750-62. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.032573. Epub 2013 Feb 20. PMID: 23426037.

5. Kashif Munir, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore | NCT00434499

6. Potenza MA, Marasciulo FL, Tarquinio M, Tiravanti E, Colantuono G, Federici A, Kim JA, Quon MJ, Montagnani M. EGCG, a green tea polyphenol, improves endothelial function and insulin sensitivity, reduces blood pressure, and protects against myocardial I/R injury in SHR. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 May;292(5):E1378-87. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00698.2006. Epub 2007 Jan 16. PMID: 17227956.

7. Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 26;100(1):42-6. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 Feb 13. PMID: 20156466.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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