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STUDY: Men who unwind after work with a mug of beer or a glass of wine may be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
JOURNAL: Diabetes 2001;50:2390-2395
AUTHORS: Dr. Katherine M. Conigrave
ABSTRACT: Men who unwind after work with a mug of beer or a glass of wine may be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their teetotaling peers, results of a new study suggest.
COMMENTARY: Researchers found that men who consumed 15 to 29 grams (g) of alcohol daily had a 36% lower risk of diabetes over 12 years, compared with men who did not drink and with men who were lighter drinkers. Findings were similar when it came to beer, white wine or liquor.
Heavy drinkers, or those who consumed more than 50 g of alcohol daily, were 39% less likely to develop diabetes, although there were few men in the study who consumed this much alcohol, the researchers note. For this reason, the findings may not apply to all heavy drinkers, according to investigators led by Dr. Katherine M. Conigrave from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Fifty grams of alcohol is roughly equivalent to three or four 12-ounce cans of beer, three or four 5-ounce glasses of wine, or three or four shots of hard liquor.
The report in the October issue of Diabetes also indicates that drinking on at least 5 days of the week provided the best insurance against developing diabetes, even when the amount of alcohol consumed was minimal. Men who drank no more than twice during the week did not have a lower risk of diabetes, the investigators found.
Their findings are based on information from nearly 47,000 middle-aged and elderly male health professionals who answered questions about their drinking habits. Body mass index (a measure of weight in relation to height) and age did not alter the results.
"Decisions about alcohol consumption should consider the full range of benefits and risks to an individual. The data suggest that a reduction in type 2 diabetes may be among the benefits of regular moderate consumption.
The results support those of earlier studies showing an association between moderate alcohol consumption and a lower risk for some chronic disorders, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the authors note.
The findings suggested that frequent alcohol consumption conveys the greatest protection against type 2 diabetes, even if the level of consumption per drinking day is low.