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


Overall, those with the lowest risk of developing diabetes were people who drank moderately on a weekly basis, Tolstrup's analysis showed.

A group of Danish researchers found that men and women who drink a few glasses of alcohol three to four times a week have the lowest risk of developing diabetes.

Wine was the drink found to be most effective at reducing the risk, with scientists arguing that this was because of its chemical compounds, which help to improve blood sugar balance.

In terms of the amount of alcohol consumed, men who downed 14 drinks per week were 43% less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank nothing.

"Recommendations for alcohol in this case cannot be taken from a single study with only one outcome, because alcohol is associated with risk of more than 50 different diseases", said Janne Tolstrup, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen. Women who had nine drinks per week were at a 58 per cent lower risk over women who did not drink at all. Participants were followed for a median of 4.9 years.

During follow-up, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes. As type 2 diabetes is much more common, the clear majority of diabetes diagnoses recorded will have been for type 2 diabetes.

The team concluded: "Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over three to four days per week is associated with the lowest risk of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account".

For decades, physicians have warned us to avoid alcohol, as its high sugar content could predispose one to diabetes. However, WHO has also said that moderate drinking could be beneficial when it comes to diabetes.

Gin could have the opposite effect, along with other spirits, increasing women's chances of getting diabetes by 83%. The beverage-specific alcohol amount was defined as less than one drink per week, between one and six drinks per week, at least seven drinks per week for women, between 7 and 13 drinks for men and at least 14 drinks per week for men.

Next to wine, beer also had a positive effect on lowering diabetes risk. "Several factors contribute to it, including family history, ethnic background, age and being overweight", Dr. Emily Burns, head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, told CNBC via email Friday. "Therefore the relationship between red wine and health can be explained by a healthier life style of people who drink in a disciplined manner, by unhealthy effects of non-alcoholic beverages such as soda or juices, or both". With 70% of all alcohol drunk by women being wine, the beer results for women are also "unsure".

"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.