MODERATE DRINKING AND TYPE 2 DIABETES
After studying more than 20,000 pairs of twins over a twenty-year period, Finnish researchers have concluded that moderate alcohol consumption can be associated with a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Making use of an unusually large sample of 23,000 same sex twins born before 1958 and both surviving after 1967, the researchers from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied their smoking, drinking, diet and physical activity over a 20-year follow-up period. The aim of the study was to compare the risk of the disease occurring amongst non-drinkers and compare incidence with that amongst moderate drinkers. For the purposes of the study moderate drinking was defined as 0.6-3.7 units daily for men (0.6-2.4 units for women).
The results show that moderate drinking was associated with a significantly lesser likelihood of type 2 diabetes in both men and women as compared to low consumption (less than 0.6 units daily). Neither was there any evidence for any apparent protective, nor for an increased risk, amongst male heavy (>3.7 units/day) drinkers. However, women defined as low to normal weight, showed a heightened level of risk when consuming higher levels of alcohol (>2.4 units/day).
Commenting on the report, Frank Caddy, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Drinks Group, warned “Given the current concern at the pattern of drinking rather than the ‘average’ daily consumption, it is significant that the study also found that women who ‘binged’ were found to double their risk of contracting type 2 diabetes” He added “We welcome these findings, which once again supports the emerging view that alcohol in moderation can be good for you, but remember never over indulge and always drink sensibly”
Because of their sample, the researchers were able to compare some twins where one was a moderate drinker with the other who might be defined as a low consumer. This comparison confirmed the results of the more general study that moderate alcohol intake could have a positive protective effect.
For further information contact Frank Caddy (tel: 028 90 422349 or 07711236376)
Source: Alcohol Consumption and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: A 20-Year Follow-Up of the Finnish Twin Cohort Study, Diabetes Care (2003), 26, 2785–2790, Carlsson S., Hammar N., Grill V., Kaprio J., Division of Epidemiology, Stockholm Centre of Public Health, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm; Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, and Department of Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki; and
Department of Mental Health, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.