Moderate alcohol consumption and diabetes - benefits are found in new study

Posted July 29, 2017

A study conducted in Denmark has found that drinking alcohol most days of the week can significantly protect against developing diabetes.

Consuming alcohol three to four times a week cut men's risk by 27% and women's by 32% - compared to those who abstained.

Red wine is said to be more beneficial, owing to its ability in helping to manage blood sugar. Drinking 1 to 6 beers per week was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes in men compared to men who drank less than 1 beer per week, but in women there was no relation.

But the researchers said the study's findings should not encourage alcohol consumers to drink more than what most doctors would encourage: no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which roughly equates to six pints of beer.

The research showed that individuals of any gender that drink seven glasses of wine a week, lower their risk of diabetes between 25 and 30 percent compared to people that drank less than one glass. Participants were followed for a median of 4.9 years. "However, I do not advise patients to start drinking just to reduce risk of developing diabetes".

"Type 2 diabetes risk is complicated".

After the study period ended, 859 men and 887 women group had developed both types of diabetes.

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"For the same total weekly amount of alcohol, spreading it out on more days is better than drinking it all together", said lead author Janne Tolstrup, professor of epidemiology and intervention research at the University of Southern Denmark's National Institute of Pubic Health, in an email. Meanwhile, there was no relationship between binge drinking and diabetes risk.

Overall, these findings suggest moderate drinking, 3 to 4 days per week, can have a protective effect when it comes to diabetes.

Gin could have the opposite effect, along with other spirits, increasing women's chances of getting diabetes by 83%. That's especially true considering that European and American health officials consider nine weekly drinks for women to constitute "high-risk drinking".

"Regularly drinking more than the daily guidelines can affect your health in many ways", confirms Dr Gary Bolger, Chief Medical Officer at AXA PPP healthcare.

"Several factors contribute to it, including family history, ethnic background, age and being overweight".

No association was found between binge drinking and diabetes risk, although the team suggested that this could be due to few participants reporting binge drinking. Women who averaged 9 drinks a week had a 58% lower risk of diabetes than non drinkers. Consuming any amount of alcohol increases one's risk of gastrointestinal diseases, and alcohol itself is linked to 50 different conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excess alcohol consumption contributes to almost 90,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Binge drinking is associated with liver, kidney and cardiovascular diseases.