Regular consumption of alcohol may lead to long-term weight loss in people with diabetes, say researchers.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, showed that losing weight can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Obesity is known as one of the leading risk factors for developing diabetes.
“Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are trying to lose weight should be encouraged to limit alcohol consumption,” said lead investigator Ariana M. Chao, Assistant Professor from the Univeristy’s Department of Biobehavioural Health Sciences.
While best practice for weight loss often includes decreasing or eliminating calories from alcohol, few studies examine whether people who undergo weight loss treatment report changes in alcohol intake and whether alcohol influences their weight loss.
The study suggests that alcohol consumption may attenuate long-term weight loss in adults with Type 2 diabetes.
In the study, published in the journal Obesity, the team followed nearly 5,000 people who were overweight and had diabetes for four years.
One group participated in Intensive Lifestyle Intervention (ILI) and the other in a control group consisting of diabetes support and education.
Data showed that participants in the ILI group who abstained from alcohol consumption over the four-year period lost more weight than those who drank any amount during the intervention. Results also showed that heavy drinkers in the ILI group were less likely to have clinically significant weight loss over the four years.
“This study indicates that while alcohol consumption is not associated with short-term weight loss during a lifestyle intervention, it is associated with worse long-term weight loss in participants with overweight or obesity and Type 2 diabetes,” Chao explained.