Drinking tea may be linked to a lower risk of diabetes, scientists have suggested, after finding countries who drink the most have lower rates of the disease.
Researchers in Switzerland analysed prevelance of type 2 diabetes in relation to consumption of tea in 50 countries.
Tea contains chemicals, called complex flavanoids, which are thought to protect cells from damage and inflammation.
The findings, published in the journal BMJ Open, showed that Ireland topped the league table for tea drinkers, at more than 2 kg/year per person, followed by the UK and Turkey.
At the bottom of the table were South Korea, Brazil, China, Morocco and Mexico, with very low consumption.
Using a complex statistical method the company, Data Mining Internationl, based in Geneva, suggested that the countries with the highest consumption of tea had the lowest rates of diabetes.
However independent experts said the method was flawed and provided a weak link at best.
Author Dr Ariel Beresniak, wrote in the journal: "The number of factors contributing to the growth of diabetes and obesity in the world confirms that ‘correlation does not imply causality’, and that a significant linear correlation between tea consumption and diabetes prevalence does not imply that low tea consumption could cause diabetes."
Rebecca Smith Telegraph.co.uk