Cheers to lowering diabetes risk

By Shayna Brouker • Published: February 8th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You’ve virtually eliminated all traces of sugar from your diet, slogged through daily sweat sessions at the gym, and painstakingly pricked your finger to monitor your glucose levels every day. If you’re pre-diabetic, watching your weight, just cutting back on sugar, or otherwise at risk for a metabolic condition, what more can you do lower your odds of developing a disease?

Have a drink, say researchers in Switzerland. A new study found that alcohol may offer more than liquid courage — it could also fight diabetes. In a study of more than six thousand adults, those who indulged in one or two drinks a day were thirty percent less likely to develop a metabolic disease than non-drinkers. These temperate drinkers also had lower body weights, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, or amount of fat in their blood. High triglyceride levels can lead to heart disease.

What’s more, all imbibers — light, moderate or heavy — even had more “good” cholesterol than teetotalers.

The relationship between drinking and diabetes is still unclear, but it might have something to do with alcohol’s anti-inflammatory property. The study’s findings contradict traditional theory that drinking alcohol in moderation, especially beer and sweet wine, raises blood sugar levels. On the other hand, drinking too much causes these levels to drop dangerously low. Both conditions pose a problem for pre-diabetics, so be sure to check with your doctor before trading in your glucose tester for a martini.

But here’s a reason to toast to good health: Whether or not you’re at risk for diabetes, modest drinking has also been shown to lower the risk for heart disease and arthritis, perhaps thanks to alcohol’s anti-inflammatory qualities.

Cheers to that.