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Can Moderate Alcohol Consumption Help Reduce Risk of Diabetes?

Can Moderate Alcohol Consumption Help Reduce Risk of Diabetes?
August 04
15:10 2017

With the ever-increasing cost of healthcare, avoiding diseases like diabetes is more important than ever before. The greatest controllable health issue that can increase or decrease your risk of developing diabetes is your weight. With obesity being a growing problem in affluent America, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes, specifically Type 2 diabetes, is also increasing to almost epidemic levels.

Another major risk factor is genetics. Sorry, folks, but you can’t control your DNA and if you have a family history of diabetes, then you stand a greater risk of developing diabetes, especially if you put on the added pounds. Trust me I know. I knew of the family risk and still didn’t watch my weight and guess what? Yep, I’m a Type 2 diabetic, but as I have been losing weight and exercising daily, it’s very possible that I can become non-diabetic.

In 2007, the American Diabetes Association estimated that the total cost of diagnosed diabetes was around $174 BILLION – yes, with a B. Five years later, in 2012, the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States had jumped by 41% to $245 BILLION. Of that $245 billion, $176 billion is in direct medical expenses and $69 billion in reduced or lost productivity (mostly work related).

Consider these figures from the American Diabetic Association:

“The largest components of medical expenditures are:

  • hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost),
  • prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes (18%),
  • anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (12%),
  • physician office visits (9%), and
  • nursing/residential facility stays (8%).”

“People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.”

“For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for more than 1 in 5 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.”

“Indirect costs include:

  • increased absenteeism ($5 billion) and
  • reduced productivity while at work ($20.8 billion) for the employed population,
  • reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.7 billion),
  • inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($21.6 billion), and
  • lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($18.5 billion).”

According to one recent study that involved 76,000 adults in Denmark, moderate consumption of alcohol – allow me to emphasize MODERATE – may possibly reduce one’s risk of developing diabetes:

“In men, drinking alcohol three to four days per week was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one day per week, the researchers found. For women, the same frequency was associated with a 32 percent lower risk.”

“The researchers also looked at the amount of alcohol consumed. Their findings were similar to those of earlier studies, which have shown that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes. Specifically, the study found that for men, drinking 14 drinks per week was associated with a 41 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with no drinks, and for women, drinking nine drinks per week was associated with a 58 percent lower risk of diabetes.”

“When the researchers looked at alcohol type, they found that different alcohol types were associated with different levels of risk. For example, drinking seven or more glasses of wine per week was associated with a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one glass of wine per week.”

“There were also differences between men and women: For beer, for example, drinking between one and six brews was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes in men compared with drinking less than one beer a week, and there was no link found between beer consumption and diabetes risk in women.”

When the study looked at the drinking of seven or more drinks, made with hard liquor, they found that there was an 83% INCREASED risk of developing diabetes in women compared to one or fewer drinks per week.

The researchers said that they believe part of the reason that drinking moderate amounts of wine helped reduce the risk of developing diabetes is that wine contains compounds called polyphenols. These compounds have been found to help control blood sugar levels.

One thing they specified is that if you don’t drink now, they didn’t recommend you start, but if you do, moderate is best and wine is also the best choice.

Just an added note, my doctor has told me to have a small glass of a hearty red wine every day as it also helps lower blood pressure and helps to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Additionally, hearty red wines also contain anti-oxidants which have beneficial health benefits.

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