This is the kind of health news I like to pass on!
Along with moderate alcohol consumption (defined as half a glass to one drink daily for women and up to two drinks daily for men), the researchers included optimal body mass index, not smoking, adequate physical activity and a healthy diet as the low-risk lifestyle factors. Among the adults who followed all five low-risk behaviors, about 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women, the results were staggering—a reduced risk for diabetes of 72 percent for men and 84 percent for women.
Of the five behaviors studied, maintaining optimal body mass index had the largest effect, though every factor made a contribution. Moderate drinking independently offered a risk reduction of 19 percent for men and 37 percent for women. Jared P. Reis, a doctor with the division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the NHLBI and lead author of the study, told Wine Spectator that scientists are “currently unable to explain why moderate alcohol consumption was slightly more strongly associated with a lower risk for diabetes among women.”
Early experiments suggest a relationship between alcohol and insulin, the hormone that assists cells in obtaining glucose from the blood. “Insulin resistance is an important factor in the development of diabetes, and light to moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with enhanced insulin sensitivity,” the authors wrote in the NIH study. The researchers also mention alcohol’s anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to increase triglyceride concentration as possible links to diabetes risk reduction.