March 07: The latest study at the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans involving over 312, 000 Brits, and extending to 11 years, suggests that consuming alcohol (wine) with meals reduces the risk of diabetes by 14%, writes Subhash Arora who also talks of a dampener in the form of another, smaller Study in Pennsylvania that deduces that even a small
An analysis of health data for nearly 312,400 current drinkers suggests that consuming alcohol, most notably wine, with meals is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and offers the latest in population-based science related to the promotion of cardiovascular health and the prevention of heart disease and stroke.
“The effects of alcohol consumption on health have been described as a double-edged sword because of its apparent abilities to cut deeply in either direction, depending on how it is consumed,” said study author Dr. Hao Ma, a bio-statistical analyst at the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans. But Previous studies focused mainly on how much people drink and have had mixed results. Very few studies have focused on the timing of alcohol intake and the food that it is consumed with.
Drinking in Moderation emphasised
Alcohol consumption has been linked to short and long-term health risks that include breast cancer, liver disease, depression, suicide, accidents (including road accidents), violence, sexual risk behaviours, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke and alcoholism.
These risks increase as the amount of alcohol an individual drinks increases. For some cancers and other health conditions, the risk increases even at very low levels of alcohol consumption, less than one drink a day, according to SciTechDaily.
The American Heart Association (AMA) (as does delWine) recommends that you should consult with your doctor about the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation. Some people should not drink at all, including women who are pregnant and people with certain health conditions. AMA also does not recommend (again, the same stand by delWine) a teetotaller to start drinking wine only for its health benefits.
Moderate drinking is defined as one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage daily for women and up to two glasses daily for men. That works out to be up to 14 grams (wine with around 13% alc by volume), or about 150 ml, of wine a day for women and up to 28 grams, or about 300 ml, of wine daily for men.
Prefer drinking with dinner
DelWine has been recommending drinking 2 glasses for men (one glass for women), preferably with meals for almost 20 years now. “Clinical trials have also found that moderate drinking may have some health benefits, including on glucose metabolism. However, it remains unclear whether glucose metabolism benefits translate into a reduction of type 2 diabetes,” says Ma whose team sought to determine also if the association between alcohol intake and risk of type 2 diabetes had any correlation of alcohol intake with respect to meals.
In this study, the data of 11 years ending 2010 was analysed for 312,400 adults from the UK Biobank who self-reported themselves as regular alcohol drinkers. The participants did not have diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or cancer at the time of study enrolment. People who reduced their alcohol consumption due to illness, doctor’s advice or pregnancy were excluded from the study. The average age of participants was about 56 years, slightly more than half of the adults were women and 95% were white adults.
The analysis found:
- During an average of nearly 11 years of follow-up, about 8,600 of the adults in the study developed type 2 diabetes.
- Consuming alcohol with meals was associated with a 14% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to consuming alcohol without eating food.
- The potential benefit of moderate drinking on type 2 diabetes risk was evident only among the people who drank alcohol during meals, although the specific time of meals was not collected in this study.
- The beneficial association between alcohol drinking with meals and type 2 diabetes was most common among the participants who drank wine vs. other types of alcohol.
- Consuming wine, beer and liquor had different associations with type 2 diabetes risk. While a higher amount of wine intake was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, a higher amount of beer or liquor was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
“The message from this study is that drinking moderate amounts of wine with meals may prevent type 2 diabetes if you do not have another health condition that may be negatively affected by moderate alcohol consumption and in consultation with your doctor,” Ma’s group concluded.
The study was funded by National Institutes of Health through its divisions, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Alcohol may age your brain
However another Study at the University of Pennsylvania and reported in the journal Nature Communications last week, has found that even light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with reductions in overall brain volume. Just a glass of wine or even a pint of beer a day carries significant risk as it can cause changes to the brain equivalent to ageing two years, researchers claim, with the change associated with reductions in overall brain volume
Going from zero to one alcohol unit didn't make much of a difference in brain volume, but going from one to two or two to three units a day was associated with reductions in both gray and white matter. Going from two to three alcohol units at the same age was like aging three and a half years. The team reported their findings.
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