Researchers Claim Moderate Alcohol Use May Lower Your Risk Against Diabetes
According to a major study conducted in Denmark, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may actually lower your risk against getting diabetes. And shockingly enough, teetotalers who abstain run a higher risk of getting diabetes! The Danish paper published in Diabetologia (the Journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) found that men and women who drank three to four days a week had the lowest risks of developing diabetes compared to people drinking less than one day a week. With regard to gender, researchers noted that men who drank frequently had a 27% lower risk, while women had a 32% lower risk.
The Danish survey numbered 76,484 participants (28,704 men and 41,847 women) who were followed for a median of 4.9 years (from 2008-2012). Self-reported questionnaires were used to obtain information on alcohol drinking patterns, i.e., frequency of alcohol drinking, frequency of binge drinking, and consumption of wine, beer and spirits, and overall average weekly alcohol intake.
During follow-up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. Researchers confirmed that drinking patterns were key to obtaining benefits; for example, spreading drinks out rather than downing them at once. The lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks per week in men and at 9 drinks per week in women. The Danish study also found that women had a significantly higher risk (82%) of developing diabetes when drinking spirits (hard liquor) as opposed to wine.
A previous study published in Diabetes Care in 2005, also found that moderate drinkers who imbibed 6-48 grams/a day of alcohol had a 30% reduced risk of getting type 2 diabetes compared with heavier consumers or abstainers.
But wait! Before you race over to the nearest bar thinking you’re clearly not drinking enough, consider this: frequency is the not the same as volume; and diet, exercise, health, Body Mass Index, and family history all contribute to whether or not you may develop diabetes in the future.
So while Bjørn and Dagmar may party hearty on the road to cirrhosis of the liver, here’s what you should know now:
In the U.S., a standard drink contains approximately 12-14 grams of alcohol; in Europe/Australia, 10 grams; and in Japan, 21 grams. So to put things in perspective, a bottle of red wine contains 25 fluid ounces or about 700 grams of alcohol poured into five glasses. If you are a woman, three to four glasses of wine (full or half/336g) over three to four days a week should be enough to quench your thirst and help reduce your risk. To calculate alcohol and caloric intake, use these handy calculators.
Polyphenols in red wine are known to help control blood sugar but not enough is known about how alcohol actually aids in reducing risk, but what is known about diabetes is that it is reaching epidemic proportions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 84 million Americans have prediabetes and 30 million suffer with diabetes (23 million diagnosed/7 million undiagnosed). By diagnosing diabetes early, the condition can be managed.
There are several types of diabetes, but all involve the body‘s inability to absorb or turn glucose into energy. Sugar in the form of glucose enters the bloodstream from your liver or the food you digest. Blood carries the glucose so that cells can absorb it for energy. Insulin (a compound produced by the pancreas) helps the cells absorb the glucose. However, when the pancreas can’t produce any or enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin effectively, diabetes is the end result. This excess of sugar in the bloodstream leads to a variety of health problems that can range from cardiovascular problems to kidney damage.
But remember, before you belly up to the bar, moderation in drinking and eating is always strongly advised.