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Alcohol vs. Lifestyle - Diabetes

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• Researchers examined the results of 15 different studies and found that moderate drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes than are abstainers. Teetotalers and heavy drinkers have equally high risk of the disease. The 15 studies were conducted in the U.S., Japan, Finland, Korea, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK and followed a total of 369,862 men and women for an average of 12 years. Moderate drinkers (those who drank between about a half a drink to four drinks per day) were found to be 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than abstainers or heavy drinkers. Whether drinkers consume beer, wine or distilled spirits makes little difference, but the pattern of consumption does. It's much better to consume frequently (such as daily) rather than infrequently for maximum health benefits.95

• An analysis of 13 studies found that "The results of these studies are consistent with regard to moderate alcohol consumption, indicating a protective effect in the order of 30%." There was no evidence that high consumption of alcohol increased risk of diabetes.96

• An analysis of 32 studies found that "Compared with no alcohol use, moderate consumption (one to 3 drinks/d) is associated with a 33% to 56% lower incidence of diabetes and a 34% to 55% lower incidence of diabetes-related coronary heart disease."97

• An analysis of 20 cohort studies found that, compared with lifetime abstainers, a U-shaped pattern exists between alcohol consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers concluded that "Our analysis confirms previous research findings that moderate alcohol consumption is protective for type 2 diabetes in men and women." 98

• The American Diabetes Association reports that "In people with diabetes, light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, probably because alcohol raises HDL cholesterol, the so-called 'good cholesterol.'"99

• An analysis of pairs of twins with different drinking patterns found that those who consumed alcohol in moderation had half the risk of developing type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes compared to those who consumed less alcohol. The study involved nearly 23,000 Finnish twins.100

• A prospective study of 85,051 women found that the risk of diabetes decreased as the consumption of alcohol increased. Compared with non-drinkers, those who consumed one-third to one drink per day had a 20% reduction in risk and those who consumed over one drink per day had a 40% reduced risk of developing diabetes.101

• A study of almost 21,000 physicians for over 12 years has found that men who are light to moderate drinkers have a decreased risk of Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus.102

• A study of 8,663 men over a period of as long as 25 years found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes was significantly lower among moderate drinkers than among either abstainers or heavy drinkers. These findings persisted after adjusting for age, smoking, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference, parental diabetes, fasting plasma glucose, body mass index (BMI), serum triglyceride concentration, and cardiorespiratory fitness.103

• Pre-menstrual women who consume a daily drink of beer, wine or distilled spirits (whiskey, rum, tequila, etc.) have a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than abstainers, according to a study that duplicates similar findings in men. The Harvard study involved about 110,000 women age 25 to 42 over a ten-year period. Dramatic reductions (about 60%) occurred among women who drank between 1/2 and two drinks daily compared with abstainers. The reduction of risk was lower for those who drank less.104

• Drinking alcohol (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) in moderation was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women age 40-70 in a large study in the Netherlands that followed them for an average of over six years. The authors wrote that the "findings support the evidence of a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes with moderate alcohol consumption and expand this to a population of older women."105

• Research conducted at the University of Padova Medical School in Italy found that consuming alcohol directly improved the action of insulin in both healthy diabetics. Alcohol also improved fatty acid levels.106

• A study of 5,221 men in Britain that followed them for almost 17 years found that that the risk of developing diabetes was lowest for light and moderate drinkers.107

• And the list of research evidence about the positive effects of moderate drinking on diabetes continues.1



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