Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks
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Over 12 million people in the UK are at risk of developing diabetes type 2. Age and genetics could be important risk factors for the development of the condition and cannot be controlled. However, a healthy diet, together with an active lifestyle, could reduce the risk of diabetes. Alcohol can sometimes be high in calories and sugar and interfere with blood sugar levels, which is why it’s long been considered as a risk factor for diabetes.
A new study, however, found that drinking wine with meals is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers analysed data from more than 300,000 drinkers in the UK over a period of 11 years.
They found that “consuming alcohol with meals was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes”, compared to consuming alcohol on an empty stomach.
In particular, the “beneficial association” between meals and alcohol intake was “most common” among those participants who chose to drink wine instead of other alcoholic beverages.
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“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 and in consultation with your doctor,” said study author Hao Ma, M.D., Ph.D.
Doctor Ma also suggested that the data collected indicated that the risk of developing the condition could be due to the ingredients contained by wine, “perhaps antioxidants”.
The authors also warned that when consuming alcohol with meals, “wine may be a better choice”.
This is because, conversely, drinking beer or liquor was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
“A key for those who already drink alcohol is moderation,” Doctor Ma commented.
Government guidelines suggest that to keep alcohol-related risks at a low, adults should not be drinking more than 14 units a week.
These should be spread, ideally, over three or more days.
Fourteen units equal 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine.
Study authors also pointed out that moderate drinking could have some health benefits, including glucose metabolism.
That is the process where carbohydrates from wine are broken into sugars to circulate in the bloodstream.
“However, it remains unclear whether glucose metabolism benefits translate into a reduction of type 2 diabetes,” the authors said.
One of the study’s limitations was that the majority of its participants were, as they reported, white adults of European descent, which raises questions on whether these findings can be applied to other populations.
Moderate wine consumption is not the only healthy habit that could prevent diabetes type 2.
Choosing water as the primary daily beverage could lead to managing blood glucose and insulin response better.
An active lifestyle, with limited sedentary time, could also reduce the risk of developing diabetes
And finally, reducing the total daily intake of refined carbs could help keep normal blood sugar levels.
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