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Researchers, reporting the results of their study in the October issue of Diabetes, found that drinking even modest amounts of any kind of alcohol-beer, wine or liquor-lowered the incidence of type 2 diabetes in men when compared with teetotalers.
Dr. Katherine M. Conigrave of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues studied the drinking habits of 46,892 male health professionals for 12 years. The subjects filled out questionnaires every two years.
Having a drink or two five days a week offered the greatest protection against diabetes, researchers said. When compared with those who drank infrequently, the risk of getting type 2 diabetes was reduced by seven percent for each day per week that alcohol was consumed. Those who drank between 15 and 29 grams of alcohol per day (one or two drinks) lowered their risk of getting diabetes by 36 percent compared to those who avoided drinking altogether.
Even the few participants who said they drank heavily-defined as about 50 grams of alcohol per day-were at lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
"Our findings suggest that frequent alcohol consumption conveys the greatest protection against type 2 diabetes, even if the level of consumption per drinking day is low," researchers concluded. "Beverage choice did not alter risk."
Editor's note: Remember to check with a healthcare professional about consuming alcohol if you have diabetes. Alcohol interacts with many medications and is high in calories.
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