Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some Vino Might Lower Diabetes Risk in Carb Lovers

Plenty of research shows that the typical North American diet is carbohydrate heavy. We adore our pizzas, pastas, breads and cereals. Much of this focus on carbs and fear of fats has to do with the advocacy health professionals and researchers of adopting a low-fat diet and the inadequacy of the average diet in terms of protein.

Certainly, carbs are necessary for good health, but consuming excessive amounts, particularly of refined carbohydrates and processed foods, significantly contributes to weight gain and the risk of developing diabetes, among other chronic diseases. So without making too radical a change, what can carb-lovers do to improve their health? According to Harvard researchers, raising a glass might help.

Recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that alcohol-drinkers whose diets are carbohydrate-rich are at a 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers with similar dietary habits.

The study followed about 80,000 women over a span of 26 years and kept tabs on their dietary habits. By the end, it was revealed that those who regularly consumed large amounts of refined carbohydrates but moderate amounts of alcohol (about 2 drinks per week) fared better in terms of their diabetes risks compared to non-drinking carb-lovers.

The researchers aren't saying that alcohol necessarily protects people with high-carb diets from diabetes nor are they encouraging alcohol consumption. They think that perhaps alcohol can affect the body's release of insulin and other substances after a meal, attenuating the blood sugar highs and lows that may lead to diabetes, however more research needs to be done in this area to gather more conclusive evidence. For now, their advice remains the same as what we're always told- follow a diet lower in refined carbohydrates for better health, and if you drink, do so moderately.