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Men who drink moderately may be at lower risk for Type 2 diabetes, study finds

January 11, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times

Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may have its health benefits, and lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes could be one of them, a study finds.

Researchers followed 38,031 men who had not been diagnosed with diabetes or cancer and who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up study. Changes in their drinking habits over the years were noted.

After four years, those who were light drinkers at the start of the study (drinking zero to 4.9 grams a day) and increased their alcohol consumption to moderate levels (5 to 29.9 grams a day) had a decidedly lower risk of Type 2 diabetes compared with light drinkers whose habits did not change.

Consistent moderate drinkers also had a substantially lower risk of Type 2 diabetes than did stable light drinkers. All study participants who were currently moderate drinkers were linked with at least a 25% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes compared with stable light drinkers, regardless of how much anyone drank at the beginning of the study.

There were no additional cuts in risk for Type 2 diabetes for those who were light or moderate drinkers at the start of the study and then increased their consumption to 30 or more grams per day.

But before you reach for the wine opener, note that the study authors wrote, "Decisions and recommendations about changes in alcohol consumption should, as with alcohol consumption in general, consider the full range of risks and benefits to an individual."

The study appears in the January issue of the journal Diabetes.

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