Can moderate consumption of alcohol reduce diabetes risk? Researchers say yes!

Toni Houston
July 29, 2017

This study aligns with an older study that found having a drink or two per day can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes - a problem with the body that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal - by as much as 30 percent.

Compared with current alcohol consumers consuming 1 day/week, consumption of alcohol on 3-4 days weekly was associated with significantly lower risk for diabetes in men (HR 0.73 [95% CI 0.59, 0.94]) and women (HR 0.68 [95% CI 0.53, 0.88]) after adjusting for confounders and average weekly alcohol amount.

One to six beers per week reduced diabetes risk by 21 per cent in men but had no effect on women.

A new study carried out by Danish scientists has revealed that those who drink more regularly at moderate levels, particularly wine, are less likely to develop the condition than those who don't drink at all.

Of the study's participants, only 2.5 percent developed diabetes during the study, but those who did usually drank alcohol less than once per week. For example, men who consumed 14 drinks per week had a 43 percent lower risk compared to those who did not drink, and women who had 9 drinks per week had a 58 percent lower risk compared to women non-drinkers.

Overall, the researchers found that men who drink frequently had a 27 percent lower risk and women had a 32 percent lower risk. Participants were followed for a median of 4.9 years.

Dr Emily Burns, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, said: 'Type 2 diabetes risk is complex.

The research, published by Professor Janne Tolstrup and colleagues from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark, explored what influence drinking patterns had on men and women developing diabetes. "Once somebody has diabetes, different forms of alcohol can have very different effects", he says.

The authors found, however, that gin and vodka may not work as well as wine and beer, with women drinking seven or more drinks of spirits a week raising their diabetes risk by 83 per cent over those who had less than one a week.

Drinking beer seemed to affect men and women differently.

Though the World Health Organization reports "harmful use of alcohol" contributes to more than 200 diseases and injuries, it also acknowledges that light to moderate drinking may be beneficial with respect to diabetes, CNN said. Drinking three to four days a week was linked to the biggest risk reduction. "Drinking frequency was important, as those who were drinking three to four times per week had lower risk as compared to those drinking only once per week - regardless of the total weekly amount". The impact of the regular alcohol consumption regarding the Type 2 risk will differ from person to person.

"Alcohol has been suggested to increase insulin sensitivity and lower fasting insulin resistance, which might play an important role in the progression of diabetes", she said, according to CBS News.

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