25-year study links daily glass of wine to lower diabetes risk
A 25-year study has found that consuming an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet and a glass of wine a day lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
As reported by Wine Spectator, the study, conducted by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden and Harvard Medical School, found that a Mediterranean diet rich in plants, whole grains and olive oil, along with a glass of wine a day, lowered insulin resistance and body mass index in the women who took part.
The study analysed data from the Women’s Health Study (WHS), a survey that followed over 25,000 female healthcare professionals between 1992 and 2017.
Over the 25-year period, WHS researchers gathered data on the women’s lifestyles, medical histories and diets, including wine intake.
Blood tests were taken at the beginning of the study to test levels of 40 biomarkers, including proteins considered to be good cholesterol – lipoproteins.
One of the first studies of its kind to conduct such research over an extended period, the researchers looked at several of the biomarkers and the diet information to find connections to who developed diabetes over the 25-year period.
“What we eat now has important health implications for our cardiometabolic health for the next 25 years,” Dr. Samia Mora, co-author of the report, told Wine Spectator.
“Prior studies were shorter in duration and didn’t examine potential mediating pathways over the long term.
“While it was known that the Mediterranean diet has many health benefits, it was not previously known which of these biological pathways may be contributing to the lower risk of diabetes and to what magnitude.”
In the study, diet intake was measured by points. A below-average consumption of red and processed meats equaled one point, while an above-average intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and legumes also earned a point.
A glass of wine earned participants one point, while higher consumption was considered disadvantageous. “Moderate alcohol consumption, between 5 to 15 grams per day, along with a healthy diet, might be beneficial for future cardiometabolic health,” Mora told WS.
Researchers found that participants with a higher Mediterranean diet score tended to have better levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of insulin resistance. They also had lower BMIs and were less likely to be overweight.
“Most of this reduced risk associated with the Mediterranean diet and type 2 diabetes was explained through the biomarkers related to insulin resistance, adiposity, lipoprotein metabolism and inflammation,” lead author of the study, Dr. Shafqat Ahmad, told WS.
“This understanding may have important consequences for the primary prevention of diabetes,” he added.