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Study: Wine in Moderation cuts Diabetes Risk by Half

Posted: Saturday, 29 July 2017 12:20


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Study: Wine in Moderation cuts Diabetes Risk by Half

July 29: According to a new Study conducted by a team of scientists in Denmark and published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, wine drinking in moderation can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 58% for women and 43% for men although cautioning against the risk of drinking alcohol in excess for various other diseases

Click For Large ViewThe researchers believe red wine provides the greatest protection because of the way polyphenols regulate blood sugar. The chemical is found especially in red wine. But the scientists have warned that heavy drinking will not help improve a body turning weak and also increases the risk of a number of life-threatening diseases like cancer.

Several studies earlier showed that light to moderate drinking carried a lower risk of diabetes while heavy drinking had an equal or greater risk. Though the World Health Organization reports harmful effects of alcohol contributing to over 200 diseases and injuries, it acknowledges that light to moderate drinking may be beneficial for diabetes, according to the report in CNN.

Since an important relationship exists between drinking and diabetes, Professor Janne Tolstrup and her team from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark studied the specifics. They studied the data collected from over 70,000 Danish adults (40% men, 60% women) who took the Health Examination Survey and reported their drinking habits and other lifestyle details from 2007-08 to 2012.

During this period, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. The analysis showed that those who drank moderately every week had the lowest risk. The Study suggests that optimally men should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, reducing the risk of diabetes by 43%. This is equivalent to 10 small glasses (125 mL) of moderate strength (12.5%) wine- spread out over at least 5 days, keeping a couple of days alcohol-free. Women drinking 9 glasses had 58% lower risk as compared to those having less one glass a week.

In terms of frequency, data revealed drinking three to four days a week gave the lowest risk of diabetes when compared to those drinking once a week, reducing the risk by 27 % in men and 32 % in women.

Unlike other studies, this research did not find a link between binge drinking and diabetes. Prof Tolstrup feels this could be down to the small number of participants that reported binge drinking-which is defined as five drinks or more on a single occasion.

Stressing the negative effects of alcohol, Rosanna O'Connor- director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco at Public Health England, said, "It is not helpful to talk about the effect of alcohol consumption on diabetes alone."Consuming alcohol contributes to a vast number of other serious diseases, including some cancers, heart disease and liver disease, so people should keep this in mind when thinking about how much they drink."

Prof Tolstrup and her team have used the same survey to research the effect of alcohol on other conditions. They found that drinking moderately a few times a week was linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. But consuming any amount of alcohol increased the risk of developing gastrointestinal diseases, such as alcohol liver disease and pancreatitis.

Wine seemed to have a positive impact but women who drink spirits, including gin frequently were found to have an increased risk of contracting diabetes. According to Yahoo News a daily gin tipple was found to increase the risk of diabetes by 83 per cent.

Click For Large ViewThe study had a big sample size but is open to criticism for a short time frame of 5 years. However, Prof. Tolstrup feels the time frame she chose is right and that a 10-year frame would have not changed the result. Besides, a longer period would complicate the types of drinks chosen and a change in the drinking habits and introduced ‘noise’ in the study.

National Health Scheme of UK, NHS  has also slammed the Study by pointing out various weaknesses and claims it cannot conclusively show that drinking moderately protects against diabetes. ‘People were only asked about their drinking habits and other lifestyle choices at a single time point. Also, the study doesn't tell us whether those habits changed over the period in which people were monitored for diabetes,’ according to the report. It has a rider by way of suggesting that even if the relationship did exist there are safer ways to control diabetes, like exercise and maintaining weight through diet.

Dr Emily Burns, the head of research communications at Diabetes UK reportedly says, ‘ "While these findings are interesting, we wouldn't recommend people see them as a green light to drink in excess of the existing NHS guidelines, especially as the impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of type 2 will be different from one person to the next. There is a mention that wine is particularly beneficial because it has a role in helping to manage blood sugar, but this is based only on the authors' comments rather than on the results of the research.”

The Study is in tune with several studies done earlier, focusing on heart health and is a major Study to have come out in a while and which is supportive of red wine drinking in moderation.

Subhash Arora

Many people with diabetes have apprehension about drinking wine, might want to look at the Study in more details and check with their doctors. DelWine has been recommending up to 2 glasses (125 mL) for men and 1glass for women  preferably red wine (12.5% ABV) and preferably with meals daily, based on several studies done during more than two decades. This study seems to validate our recommendations but with only 4-5 days of wine a week-editor

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