November 28, 2011

A Toast for Alcohol Reducing the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women

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It’s not often that alcohol consumption is the good news in a medical finding – but this one has positive effects for the ladies. Carbohydrate consuming, moderate alcohol drinking, middle aged ladies listen up. This is your ‘Secret Santa’ weighing in thanks to Harvard School of Public Health.

Researchers found that middle aged females who drink alcohol moderately and consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates have a 30% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to women with similar dietary habits who don’t drink,

The design of the study was to determine what impact alcohol intake might have on diabetes risk in middle aged women whose refined carbohydrate was high. The definition of refined carbohydrates include sugary drinks, white bread, some pastas, and (polished) white rice.

The study followed over 81,000 women for 26 years. When the study began – none of the women had type 2 diabetes.

Researchers found that the women with a high refined-carb intake who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had a 30% lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to women whose refined-carb intake was also high but consumed no alcohol.

Simply put, the study concludes “Our findings suggest that a higher alcohol intake (≥15 g/d) attenuates the positive association between GL and T2D incidence.”

The moderate drinkers in this study consumed an average of approximately 2 drinks each week. A very small percentage were classed as heavy drinkers – consuming at least two ounces of alcohol each day – they did not have a lower type 2 diabetes risk. I guess that’s good to know considering the participants were taken from the Nurses’ Health Study – mostly RNs.

Don’t start drinking in light of this study if you’re a sober sister. The authors stressed that their study should not encourage people to start drinking if they do not do so now. 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.

For the men, this type of study was published earlier this year by the Harvard School of Public Health finding the same thing: middle aged men who consumed alcohol moderately may reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

You’re welcome.

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