Moderate alcohol intake is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus independent of differences in diet between drinkers and abstainers, according to study findings published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2009; published online ahead of print).

Previous research has linked alcohol consumption with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, but it has been unclear whether this inverse association is fully attributable to alcohol use because of potential confounding by many dietary factors that differ between alcohol consumers and abstainers.

In a recent study of 2,879 healthy adults enrolled in the Framingham Offspring Study, investigators led by Paul F. Jacques, ScD, Director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Program, Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, found that individuals who consumed nine or more drinks per week had a 53% reduced risk of developing diabetes compared with abstainers, after adjusting for standard risk factors.

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After adjusting for dietary patterns, however, the researchers found that the risk was reduced by 67%.