Can Tequila Treat Diabetes?

Written by Bonnie Sanders Polin PhD

Tequila Treats Diabetes?
I'm starting out with one of those headlines that brings a smile to my lips because it sounds so implausible: Scientists from the research center of the Polytechnic Institute of Guanajuato, Mexico, have found that the agave plant, which just happens to be the main ingredient in making tequila, may have value in treating diabetes. Experiments at the CINVESTAV research center found that a diet high in fructans from agave could help increase bone mass (and prevent osteoporosis) and stimulate GLP-1, a hormone that stimulates insulin release, according to Dr. Mercedes Lopez, the head of the research team.

Now for the bad news: you can't get this healthy benefit from drinking a lot of tequila since the process of making the liquor destroys the fructans.

Read more about this study here.

Type 2 Diabetes Medications: A Study on Lowering A1c Levels
The April 24, 2010, issue of The Lancet has an article titled "Liraglutide versus sitagliptin for patients with type 2 diabetes who did not have adequate control with metformin: a 26-week, randomized, parallel-group, open-label trial" by Richard E. Pratley, MD et al.

This was a research project with office-treated patient participants from the United States, Europe, and Canada. The participants were followed for 3 months and were randomly given metformin and either liraglutide (marketed in the US as Victoza) or sitagliptin (marketed in the US as Januvia) to help lower hemoglobin A1c levels. The beginning A1c levels varied from 7.5% to 10.00% in participants, who were 18 to 80 years old.

The researchers found that patients did better on the liraglutide; however, 21% to 17% reported nausea on this medication. On the plus side, they functioned with more controlled hypoglycemia events with only 5% reporting minor hypoglycemia.

A1c levels fell 1.50% on the added liraglutide as compared to 0.90% for those on the sitagliptin.

You can read the abstract of this study and get more details on the results here.

Understanding Weight Loss when You Have Type 2 Diabetes
The May 2010 issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice has an article that has great import for understanding the complexity of weight management for those with type 2 diabetes. The article is "Patient perspectives on the role of weight management in type 2 diabetes," and it's by William H. Polonsky et al.

The researchers examined patients' perceptions of their health care professionals' (HCPs) recommendations for weight control and the importance of doing so. The researchers looked at 575 overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who completed a questionnaire about the importance of weight management. Subsequently, they met with the patients to discuss issues of weight loss.

In the group of patients with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30, weight misperceptions were more common and the idea of losing weight was thought to be less important. Most patients interviewed agreed that HCPs had spoken about the importance of weight loss, but they felt few specifics had been shared. They also did not remember information about weight gain caused by some medications used to control blood glucose levels.

The researchers concluded that most patients did understand the importance of controlling weight for type 2 diabetics and that HCPs who spoke directly and actively about their recommendations with patients did best when these were specific rather than general.

Read the abstract here. You can also read an article on weight loss when you have type 2 diabetes.

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