Dutch researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands followed more than 35,000 adults between the ages of 20 and 70, who were free of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, for more than ten years. Participants had their weight, height and waist and hip circumference measured and completed questionnaires on their health and lifestyle habits.
After ten years researchers found that moderate drinkers, up to a drink per day for women, and up to two for men, were less likely to develop the disease than non-drinkers. Researchers found that those who averaged a drink or two per day were 45 percent less likely than nondrinkers to develop the disease.
And that remained true even when researchers examined the effects of other lifestyle-related factors.
Researchers report that the lower risk was seen among men and women whose diabetes risk was already low because of their healthier lifestyle habits, including not smoking, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
Even among study participants with at least three of those protective factors, moderate drinkers were 44 percent less likely than non-drinkers to develop type 2 diabetes.
The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, do not prove that drinking itself lowers diabetes risk. But they do suggest that the alcohol-diabetes connection is not explained away by other lifestyle factors. More research is needed on the subject.
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