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Wine with meals may lower Type 2 diabetes risk, study finds

Drinking wine with meals may lower a person's risk for Type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. File photo by Billie Jean Shaw/UPI
Drinking wine with meals may lower a person's risk for Type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. File photo by Billie Jean Shaw/UPI

March 3 (UPI) -- Drinking alcohol,with meals, particularly wine, may reduce a person's risk for Type 2 diabetes, a study presented Thursday during the American Heart Association's Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2022 found.

Consuming alcohol with meals was associated with a 14% lower risk for Type 2 diabetes compared with alcohol intake without eating, the data showed.

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The benefits of alcohol drinking with meals in terms of Type 2 diabetes risk were most pronounced among the participants who drank wine, as opposed to other types of alcohol, the researchers said.

"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 -- harmful or helpful, depending on how it is consumed," study author Dr. Hao Ma said in a press release.

"In our study, we sought to determine if the association between alcohol intake and risk of type 2 diabetes might differ by the timing of alcohol intake with respect to meals," said Ma, a biostatistical analyst at the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans.

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"Previous studies have focused on how much people drink and have had mixed results. Very few studies have focused on other drinking details, such as the timing of alcohol intake."

In this analysis of health data for more than 312,000 current regular drinkers in Britain, about 8,600 developed Type 2 diabetes.

"Clinical trials have also found that moderate drinking may have some health benefits, including on glucose metabolism," Ma said.

"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," he said.

Still, the relationship between alcohol consumption and Type 2 diabetes risk remains controversial, according to diabetes specialist Dr. Robert H. Eckel, who was not involved in the study.

"These data suggest that it's not the alcohol with meals but other ingredients in wine, perhaps antioxidants, that may be the factor in potentially reducing new-onset type 2 diabetes," said Eckel, a past president of the American Heart Association.

"The results suggest that if you are consuming alcohol with meals, wine may be a better choice," he said.

Past research has linked alcohol consumption with short- and long-term health risks, including motor vehicle crashes, violence, sexual risk behaviors, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, liver disease, depression, suicide, accidents and alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

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These health risks increase with the amount of alcohol an individual drinks increases, according to the American Heart Association.

For some cancers and other health conditions, the risk increases even at very low levels of alcohol consumption -- fewer than one drink daily, the association says.

Because of these health risks, both the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults who do not drink alcohol should not start.

Adults who drink alcohol regularly should talk with their doctors about the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation, they advise.

Moderate drinking is defined as one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage daily for women and up to two glasses daily for men, according to the CDC.

However, some people should not drink at all, including women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, people under age 21 years and people with certain health conditions, they add.

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