Regular alcohol consumption could cut diabetes risk, study finds

Tabitha Dunn
July 29, 2017

In the study, published today (July 27) in the journal Diabetologia, researchers found that drinking alcohol three to four days a week was associated with a lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one day a week.

Wine was found to have a better effect than beer and this was believed to be down to the fact that it contains chemical compounds that improve blood sugar balance.

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

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.

"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.

The study examined the habits of 70,551 men and women in Denmark across five years.

A Danish study found beer may protect against diabetes too, although women may want to steer clear of the gin bottle, with "mother's ruin" among the spirits which nearly double the risk.

The researchers noted that they weren't able to distinguish between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes using the available data.

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Since an important relationship exists between drinking and diabetes, Professor Janne Tolstrup and her colleagues from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark studied the specifics. "Once somebody has diabetes, different forms of alcohol can have very different effects", he says.

The timing of those drinks also mattered.

Binge drinking or heavy drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men during a single occasion.

"However, if you are going to drink, it is important to be alcohol savvy, such as drinking spritzers instead of glasses of wine, bottled beer instead of pints and having several alcohol-free days throughout the week".

Adrian Vella of the Mayo Clinic told CBS News that studies that rely on participants' self-reported food and alcohol consumption could be inaccurate, since they may struggle to recall exactly what they ate and drank in the past. For women across all alcohol frequency groups, wine represented more than half of all alcohol intake.

Wine is tipped to be the most beneficial, followed by beer, but researchers warn that clear spirits, such as gin and vodka, could substantially increase a woman's chances of succumbing to the condition. Among alcohol drinkers, the median weekly alcohol amount was eight drinks for men and four drinks for women, according to researchers.

Questionnaires asked survey respondents to give details about their drinking patterns, whether they're abstainers, lifetime and current to reduce the risk of bias as a result of those who abstain because of health issues.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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