Moderate Alcohol Consumption Could Help Prevent Diabetes
November 27, 2011

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Could Help Prevent Diabetes

Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol could help keep some women from developing diabetes, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health claim in a new study.

According to Reuters reports, the study, which has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has discovered that middle-aged females who consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates and drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a 30% lower risk of being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes than non-drinkers with similar eating habits.

Senior author Dr. Frank Hu, who studies nutrition at the Boston-based school, and colleagues studied 82,000 women over a span of 26 years, according to Linda Thrasybule of Reuters Health.

While their findings do not prove that drinking alcoholic beverages can help protect the body against this disease, Hu's team believes that doing so could trigger the body to release insulin and other substances that can keep a person's blood sugar levels from spiking after a meal.

"If you eat a high carb diet without drinking alcohol, your risk of developing diabetes is increased by 30 percent," Hu told Thrasybule on Thursday. "However, if you eat a high carb diet, but (drink) a moderate amount of alcohol, the increased risk is reduced."

Approximately 9% (6,950) of the subjects the Harvard researchers studied developed diabetes over the course of the 26 year study. They discovered that those who ate the most refined carbs (including foods such as breakfast cereal, bread, mashed potatoes, certain types of soda, and orange juice) and higher quantities of meat were generally more at risk of becoming diabetic.

However, those who drank at least some alcohol, but not more than 15 grams or roughly half an ounce worth each day, were 30% less likely to develop the disease, according to the Reuters Health report.

Those moderate drinkers consuming an average of about 24 grams or one-eighth of an ounce daily, which is roughly equivalent to two drinks per week. The researchers say that heavier amounts of alcohol consumption were not linked with a lower risk of diabetes.

"The authors stressed that their study should not encourage people to start drinking if they do not do so now," Christian Nordqvist of Medical News Today wrote on Friday. "Rather, they encourage a diet low in refined carbs and high in whole grains. If you are a drinker, they added, you should do so with moderation."


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