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Alcohol may not ward off diabetes


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Alcohol may not ward off diabetes

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - While some research has found that moderate drinking may protect against diabetes, a new study suggests that other factors may largely explain the seeming benefit.

"According to our results, it seems that much of the protective relationship between alcohol intake and diabetes in women can be explained by body weight," the study's lead author, Dr. Leif Lapidus, told Reuters Health.

In a study that followed nearly 1,500 Swedish women for 32 years, Lapidus and his colleagues at Goteborg University in Sweden found that those who drank wine, beer or liquor were less likely than teetotalers to develop type 2 diabetes.

However, the apparent protective effect vanished when the study authors factored in the women's body weight, a key element in diabetes risk. The positive effect of drinking was also dampened when the researchers accounted for exercise habits and socioeconomic status, according to the team's report in the journal Diabetes Care.

In short, women who drank tended to be leaner, and somewhat more active and affluent.

The new study included 1,462 women who were between the ages of 38 and 60 at the outset, in 1968; the women reported on their drinking habits at the start of the study, and again 12 years later.

Though regularly enjoying a glass of wine did not, by itself, ward off diabetes, there was some evidence of a lower risk of dying over the study period. This might reflect the heart benefits that numerous studies have attributed to moderate drinking, according to Lapidus. He added, however, that the finding should be "interpreted with caution."

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, September 2005.

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