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Davies MJ, Baer DJ, Judd JT, Brown ED, Campbell WS, Taylor PR. Effects of Moderate Alcohol Intake on Fasting Insulin and Glucose Concentrations and Insulin Sensitivity in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2002;287(19):2559–2562. doi:10.1001/jama.287.19.2559
Author Affiliations: Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Md (Drs Davies, Baer, and Judd, and Ms Brown); and Cancer Prevention Studies Branch, National Cancer Institute, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Md (Dr Taylor and Mr Campbell).
Context Epidemiologic data demonstrate that moderate alcohol intake is associated
with improved insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic individuals. No controlled-diet
studies have addressed the effects of daily moderate alcohol consumption on
fasting insulin and glucose concentrations and insulin sensitivity.
Objective To determine whether daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of
alcohol influences fasting insulin and glucose concentrations and insulin
sensitivity in nondiabetic postmenopausal women.
Design, Setting, and Participants Randomized controlled crossover trial of 63 healthy postmenopausal women,
conducted at a clinical research center in Maryland between 1998 and 1999.
Interventions Participants were randomly assigned to consume 0, 15, or 30 g/d of alcohol
for 8 weeks each as part of a controlled diet. All foods and beverages were
provided during the intervention. An isocaloric beverage was provided in the
0-g/d arm. Energy intake was adjusted to maintain constant body weight.
Main Outcome Measures Fasting insulin, triglyceride, and glucose concentrations, measured
at the end of each dietary period; insulin sensitivity, estimated with a published
index of glucose disposal rate corrected for fat-free mass based on fasting
insulin and fasting triglyceride concentrations, compared among treatments
with a mixed-model analysis of variance.
Results A complete set of plasma samples was collected and analyzed for 51 women
who completed all diet treatments. Consumption of 30 g/d of alcohol compared
with 0 g/d reduced fasting insulin concentration by 19.2% (P = .004) and triglyceride concentration by 10.3% (P = .001), and increased insulin sensitivity by 7.2% (P = .002). Normal-weight, overweight, and obese individuals responded
similarly. Only fasting triglyceride concentration was significantly reduced
when comparing 0 and 15 g/d of alcohol (7.8%; P =
.03), and no difference was found between consumption of 15 and 30 g/d of
alcohol; however, there was a significant linear trend (P = .001). Fasting glucose concentrations were not different across
Conclusions Consumption of 30 g/d of alcohol (2 drinks per day) has beneficial effects
on insulin and triglyceride concentrations and insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic
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