Diabetes Archive


Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce diabetes risk

Research we’re watching

The American Diabetes Association counsels women with diabetes to follow the recommendations for alcohol consumption that apply to most adult women: a drink a day is fine, especially because it may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. A new analysis by a team of Chinese researchers indicates that the same drink could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place.

The researchers poured over 26 studies on alcohol and diabetes that involved 706,716 people, over half of whom were women. They determined that compared with teetotalers, light drinkers (those who averaged up to one drink a day) had a 17% lower risk of developing diabetes, and that those who averaged one to two drinks daily had a 26% lower risk. However, alcohol consumption heavier than that had little or no effect on diabetes risk. When they broke down the data further, they found that the benefits of light to moderate drinking were greater for women than men.

Meat-free diet linked to benefits for people with type 2 diabetes

News briefs

 Image: © jenifoto/Getty Images

Avoiding animal products and eating a plant-based diet is a great way to keep type 2 diabetes under control, according to a study published Oct. 30, 2018, in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. Researchers reviewed 11 studies (most of them randomized controlled trials, the gold standard in research) that included more than 400 mostly middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes. The average length of each study was about six months. People who followed a plant-based diet experienced significant improvements in blood sugar control, emotional health, quality of life, weight loss, and cholesterol levels, compared with people who did not follow plant-based diets. Some people who ate a plant-based diet were even able to reduce or eliminate their medications for diabetes control and high blood pressure. If you'd like to try the diet at home, focus on lots of vegetables, legumes (a must for protein and fiber), fruits, seeds, whole grains, and nuts. But don't stop taking any medications without talking to your doctor first.

Updated exercise guidelines showcase the benefits to your heart and beyond

Every little bit of activity counts — and the first steps toward fitness have the most impact.

 Image source: hhs.gov

Without question, being physically active is the best thing you can do for your heart health. Here's the good news: according to new federal exercise guidelines, even just a few minutes of moving can count toward the recommended aerobic exercise goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

"Studies show that the total amount of energy expended is what's important for health, not whether it comes in short or long bouts," says Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who studies the role of physical activity in disease prevention. "This certainly is an encouraging message for people who are inactive," she adds, noting that the previous guidelines recommended exercising in sessions lasting at least 10 minutes.

Prescription-strength omega-3 fatty acids to prevent heart disease?

A drug made from a highly purified fat from fish reduced cardiovascular events in people with heart disease or diabetes.

 Image: © ksbank/Getty Images

Some people at high risk for a heart attack or stroke now have a new option to help them dodge those dangerous events: a prescription drug that contains large doses of EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil.

In a recent study, the drug, icosapent ethyl (Vascepa), led to dramatic drops in heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from cardiovascular disease in people with high triglycerides (see "What is the REDUCE-IT trial?"). Triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, have been getting more attention of late for their role in heart disease.

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