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The #1 Surprising Benefit of Drinking Alcohol

It can result in a lower risk of developing this one disease.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

If you've ever been curious about the secret side effects of drinking alcohol, then you'll surely be interested to find out that enjoying an adult beverage in a particular way can actually benefit your health.

A large study that was presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2022 and involved almost 312,000 participants has found that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol can result in a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

When it comes to what kind of alcohol had the greatest impact, wine was apparently the best choice, however, it's important to note that drinking alcohol on its own wasn't ideal but was instead best when having with food.

red wine
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"The effects of alcohol consumption on health have been described as a double-edged sword because of its apparent abilities to cut deeply in either direction—harmful or helpful, depending on how it is consumed," study author Hao Ma, M.D., Ph.D., a biostatistical analyst at the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans, explained according to the American Heart Association. "Previous studies have focused on how much people drink and have had mixed results. Very few studies have focused on other drinking details, such as the timing of alcohol intake."

When it comes to how alcohol (especially wine) is connected to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at UCLA medical center, tells Eat This, Not That!, "​It seems to indicate that there may be an effect on glucose metabolism that is bolstered by the wine and perhaps some of the polyphenols in it that get triggered when consumed with a meal, as opposed to apart from a meal."

As for how much you should be drinking while you're eating, Hunnes notes, "I would continue to recommend up to one drink of wine (preferred) for women per day, with a meal, and definitely no more than two per day for men, less is better, with a meal."

Indeed, that goes along with suggestions from the CDC which considers that to be a moderate amount. Granted, Hunnes adds, "If you don't drink, don't start."

To find out more about alcohol and your health, be sure to read The #1 Best Alcoholic Beverage To Drink, Says Dietitian.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more
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