Any serious attempt to keep up with the dizzying array of health studies and new information on the correct ways in which to manage our diet is surely doomed to failure.
It sometimes feels like new – and often contradictory – information on various ailments and the best ways to avoid them surface every day, and it can be hard to decipher the legitimate, comprehensive studies from tenuous links that might not hold any real world value. To complicate the matter further, the rise of social media health “gurus” purporting to operate in some bizarre sphere of influence, while in reality doing little other than furthering their own profile, has led to yet more ill conceived “information” that is often incorrect at best, and dangerous at the worst. Often, such studies present their readers with something of a disappointment; one must give up some desirable food or another, or commit to what sounds like a considerable amount of exercise each week. A new study, though, seems certain to be set with almost universal glee, after it found that drinking alcohol a few times a week could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study, published in Diabetologia, surveyed more than 70,000 participants on how frequently – and how much – alcohol they drank. Somewhat surprisingly, the Danish researchers reportedly ascertained that individuals who drank three to four times a week were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never drink. Professor Janne Tolstrup, based at the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark, fronted the research, and claimed that the key to their findings lay in the frequency of alcohol consumption; “We found that drinking frequency has an independent effect from the amount of alcohol taken. “We can see it’s a better effect to drink the alcohol in four portions rather than all at once.” Roughly five years into the study, researchers reconnected with participants. They found that 859 of the men, and 887 of the women had developed either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. From their findings, researchers established that drinking a moderate amount three to four nights per week lessened female risk of diabetes by 32%, and male risk by 27% – considerable numbers in comparison to those who drank less than once a week. Not all alcohol is created equal, and it would seem that different types held different consequences for the results of the study, as well. Wine was found to be the most beneficial, presumably because of its previously ascertained ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Conversely, women who had drunk a significant amount of spirits were found to be at a heightened risk of developing diabetes, though it appeared to have no affect on their male counterparts. Health experts have greeted the study with caution, reminding us that alcohol consumption has been linked to many alternative conditions and illnesses. Indeed, Tolstrup reminds us that “Alcohol is associated with 50 different conditions”. Sadly, it seems we might not have the green light to drink to our heart’s content just yet.
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